Before starting my internship at the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I had hoped to deepen my critical thinking about psychology, social justice, and the systems in society that contribute to the perpetuation of interpersonal violence. I had hoped to develop a better understanding of the complexities of domestic violence as well as how it is impacted by systems of oppression and share that information with others. I wanted to increase my self-awareness, empathy, and insight into how I can work to prevent violence on a larger scale as well as on a personal level in my own relationships.
My internship without question gave me the opportunities to learn and grow in these areas. I was able to listen to and talk with seasoned advocates who passed on some of their wisdom and helped me understand domestic violence and the issues connected with it in ways I had never thought about before. It also made me realize even more just how much there is to learn. Learning is an ongoing process that we all must continually engage with. My work this summer showed me that we must challenge ourselves on our preconceived notions and understand how our identities impact our views of the world and the work that we do.
Another goal for this summer was to confirm that going into non-profit work is the path I want to pursue after college. By seeing first-hand how a non-profit organization functions, I learned the processes involved in providing support services with the goal of creating a positive impact. I gained insight into what it is like to work in a non-profit by forming relationships with DCCADV employees, especially my wonderful supervisor. Participating in different areas of work in the organization has helped me discover what specific aspects of social work appeal to me and where my strengths lie.
I have discovered that it is important to me to meet face-to-face with the people I am trying to work with and serve. Policy, training, and outreach are so important on their own and in collaboration with direct service efforts. I have gained a deeper understanding of how these elements work and how to integrate them into an organization that provides resources and services to different populations. Previously I did not have much experience with the policy and outreach side of advocacy so through this internship, I have figured out that going forward, I want to continue doing direct service work but while incorporating the larger scale strategies I have learned here. I will be more informed about the dynamics between the different aspects of this work so that not only will I be engaging in intervention work, but in prevention and community engagement as well.
I am extremely grateful to DCCADV and my supervisor Leanne Brotsky for allowing me to take a small part in the operations of their organization for the past three months. I have been so inspired seeing the passion, intelligence, and courage every person who works here has. I’m sorry that my time here is ending, but I’m so happy to have had this opportunity. Thank you for your incredible work and leadership.