This week I concluded my internship at Start Strong and I can say with confidence that I made the right decision. I have worked various jobs and by now I know what a healthy work environment looks like. I have never been in a space where my coworkers and supervisor have supported me with such grace. There wasn’t a day that I did not look forward to showing up and teaching the adolescents. With much reflection I am astonished at how grounded they were and how much emotional maturity they display, I saw my younger self in them. They have demonstrated full acceptance of others and the willingness to learn. That serves to show how impactful Start Strong is on their youths. I am happy to play a role in that.
One of my biggest takeaways from this summer is how I need to approach young people in my field of work. I learned that teenagers are at stages in their lives where they are learning lessons that mold their adulthood. It’s essential to give them grace for their mistakes and to emphasize that they are still learning what makes them happy and whole. This is important to me because I often am hard on myself for the mistakes I made in my teenage years. I have now accepted at those ages I did the best I could knowing what I knew at that time.
Additionally, my favorite conversation we had this summer with the youths was how to navigate a healthy break up. It meant a lot to me that I was in a position where I could teach them this valuable information because something as simple as conversation on what a healthy break up looks like can save a life. I did not grow up in an environment with healthy representations of break ups and relationships overall. Due to this void I didn’t know how I should be treated in a relationship and I ended up in an abusive relationship. Surviving this relationship motivated me to begin the path to being a social worker and compelled me to want to be in a space like this Start Strong.
Being a social worker means that I get to be in a position where I can connect underprivileged people with resources. These resources will ultimately help them make their quality of life better and take them out of harmful situations. Sometimes people need someone there to guide them because they don’t know where to start to make their life better.