This has been a whirlwind of a summer, and I can’t believe it’s come to an end. Working at PCDC has challenged me to think about my life, my goals, and social justice in new ways, some of which has been useful and some of which has been frustrating for me. The useful aspects have been gaining a broader understanding of what early intervention is and what services are available to the disadvantaged population I’m hoping to working with in the future. I also have spoken with many people at the agency about what graduate degrees I should earn in order to get where I want to be in my career; something I had been struggling with greatly before this summer. It has additionally been useful to have been researching the federal regulations relating to early childhood education and care and investigating how PCDC has complied with these regulations as I now have a better sense of why daycares do things certain ways. Lastly, I’ve gotten a lot of experience working in PROMIS, the database that is used in many similar agencies.
There have also been some very frustrating challenges, such as trying to understand my contributions to social justice. I had always felt that I needed to be working directly with children in order to make a difference, but working with my supervisor and talking to the director of the program has convinced me otherwise. While I still aim to work directly with children as that’s what I find most fulfilling, I am working through whether I should focus more on policy since I could make more of a widespread difference that way.
I think these conflicting ideas will challenge me throughout my life, and I can’t imagine a better place to grapple with the issues surrounding social justice than Brandeis. When I get back in the fall I will certainly be seeking out opportunities to contend with the conflicting concept of how best to apply myself to bettering children’s lives. I would like to continue my research in relation to the available services and find or create a niche that is both enjoyable and fulfilling for me.
I am not sure how to advise other students interested in this field, as I am still grappling with a lot of it myself. I suggest that you really deeply investigate what it is you are looking for and pursue a job that fulfills your requirements while at the same time understanding that it will more likely than not take several steps to get there. I myself had thought I wanted something specific and, while I was on the right track, have certainly changed my mind and clarified many things. If you are pursuing an internship or job specifically at Community Action, I suggest that you contact my supervisor directly, and you are welcome to email me to get her specific information.
It has been a summer full of highs and lows, but overall I am very glad I had the opportunity to work in this agency and would do it again if I had the chance. I am eternally grateful for the respect and trust bestowed upon me, as it gave me a really gracious entrance into the professional office world.
Avital Sokolow Silverman ’14