The final days of my internship served as a period of enlightenment and reflection. I recounted the days when I began working at Fina House and my worries and insecurities. Would the staff members be helpful? Would the workload become too overwhelming? How can I contribute more to the projects at hand? I was pleased with the end result and at the amount of growth that the young women presented after participating in our workshops.
Typically, a workshop day would look something like this: We begin with “highs and lows,” going around in a circle and each person stating the highest (best) moment of their day and their lowest (worst) part. Then we would go into an icebreaker. The icebreaker would be some kind of team building or communication strengthening exercise. Afterward, we would transition into the workshop topic. Each person gets the chance to discuss and comment on the workshop material and their feelings and ideas about it. We would then wrap up the workshop with the “highs and lows” of the lesson. This would help me analyze what worked, as well as what I needed to improve on.
One of my workshop days was replaced with a health workshop on sex and AIDS education. The doctor who hosted the workshop was new to Fina and I assisted him with facilitating dialogue and communication amongst the girls. It is not easy trying to take charge in a new environment but with the right atmosphere and a couple of icebreakers the girls were ready to contribute to the discussion.
The meeting I had with my supervisor was successful. She advised me on which girls in particular I should focus my attention on during workshops. She also suggested a few icebreakers that would make all of them feel more comfortable and willing to participate during discussions.
During one of the discussions about college, a couple of the girls wanted me to assist them in registering for classes in the local community college. I was glad to see them take the initiative. Two other residents had completed their GED (General Education Development) programs and the staff decided to host a celebratory dinner for them. I assisted them with the planning for the event and setting up the dining hall.
This journey was well worth the effort. There were a few residents who were not willing to participate initially but as time progressed they found themselves speaking out and being a part of the team. I devised a portfolio of the workshops that I hosted with the materials that I used and presented it in a folder to my supervisor. I want Fina House to have a documented set of topics to cover for the next intern that they might have, or if any of the girls want to review some of the material. After the last check-in meeting with my supervisor I was reassured by her encouraging words that I would always be welcomed back to the Fina House for any potential internships or social justice projects I had in mind. This internship opened new doors for me in a rewarding field that I hope I can continue to pursue.