My Status at the Community Day Center of Waltham

Preparing Lunch for the GuestsWorking at the Community Day Center of Waltham this summer has been an incredibly moving and emotionally intense experience. At this point, I have developed such strong relationships with many of our guests. These relationships have taught me a lot about separating my emotions towards the circumstantial work I do from the objective work I have to accomplish. I have learned to set boundaries as a professional while still maintaining an approachable demeanor, that way I can both relate to and create a comfortable environment for the guests as well as professionally address the problem(s) at hand.

In the office, it is easier for me to maintain a professional standing in the eyes’ of the guests. For me, emotional dilemmas arise when I bump into them around town and see the reality of their challenging circumstances first hand. It is hard for me to grapple with and go on with my day-to-day activities, because, I often struggle to separate my work life from my personal life. I am a compassionate counselor and a dedicated, hard worker but the circumstances and the environment poses a emotional dilemma for me. This emotional dilemma manifests itself when I take unrealistic or unreasonable measures to try to make a permanent fix to people’s lives when it is a highly unlikely outcome. It is my job to help with the services provided at the Day Center. To conduct further work outside the Day Center would be my choosing but also could post significant liability and moral issues. For this reason, I choose very carefully and after much thought before going the extra mile and also receive approval from my supervisor before proceeding.

Day Center LogoThis work opportunity has greatly differed from university/academic life in that I have received such intense hands-on experience that a classroom setting could never provide me with. It is through this kind of experience that I have begun to master the interpersonal, organizational, and diagnostic skills necessary to be an effective case worker and have become well-acquainted with the specific services and resources that we provide and refer throughout the Metrowest area.

The biggest skill I have further developed as a result of this internship is interpersonal skills. Working with people from all different backgrounds with a wide range of circumstances and needs, I have learned about how multi-dimensional we are as people. Addressing situations that are often accompanied with complex circumstances has taught me about problem solving, troubleshooting, and many of the things to consider when assessing an individual’s well-being. For future career plans I have thought of potentially being a medical social worker, working with health care policy and reform, an occupational therapist, a cognitive behavioral therapist, or a clinical psychologist. This experience has given me a good basis that harnesses my capabilities to work with people and make a difference in whatever field I pursue. I also plan to continue to work at the Day Center throughout the year and bring what I continue to learn to the classroom setting as well as share my experiences with my peers. Hands-on experience like this alongside a classroom education prepares me to make real contributions to society and continue to make a permanent impact on peoples’ lives.

Community Day Center Facebook Page

Social Worker Duties and Responsibilities



2 thoughts on “My Status at the Community Day Center of Waltham”

  1. Congratulations, Diana on completing your internship! I was interested to read of your struggles regarding separating your emotions towards the work you do from the objective work you had to accomplish. I also struggled with this working in an intensely emotional field. It takes time and experience to be able to separate your emotions for your job requirements, which is necessary to be an effective social worker or case manager. When I first started my internship at Lawyers For Children, I found myself constantly worrying and saddened by clients’ situations, which in turn effected my ability to help them. I learned that taking care of yourself is essential to being able to being able to take care of the needs of your clients in the field of social work. Those boundaries can be tricky to set initially, but I think you realized (as did I) that they become necessary! As you mention, sometimes social workers desire to go above and beyond their proscribed duties wherever they work, and that is something I struggled with too, but it is important to remember professional responsibility, especially as interns! It’s good that you sought your supervisor’s permission before going the extra mile. I too had to ask my supervisor several questions regarding situations where I wasn’t sure if carrying out a certain task would overstep my boundaries with a client, but in the end I was always glad I asked because I learned a lot! It sounds like you did, too!

  2. Hi Diana, your internship this summer sounds like it is an incredible experience and the Community Day Center sounds like a wonderful opportunity for people in need. Through my internship, I learned about solving problems by addressing the root of them. There is an activity practiced to demonstrate this idea entitled “upstream, downstream” where trash is continuously floating downstream and there are adults that continue to pick it up. Children, as they are curious, begin to wonder where the trash is coming from and they walk upstream. They find where all the trash is coming from and they attempt to solve the problem from the root, so trash does not have the opportunity to float downstream. I believe both aspects of problem-solving are important. I wonder though, what we could do to find the root of the problem of homelessness and try to reduce the amount of people that have to live like that. I looked on the Facebook page link that you provided, and I do think by educating people on the laws around the homeless, as they did, is a great way to continue the struggle in solving the problem. Overall, it sounds like this organization is helping with both the solving of the problem and assisting those in need while the problem exists. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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