This summer I am lucky enough to have an internship at The Fortune Society in New York City. This is a non-profit organization that provides a wide variety of services to formerly incarcerated or at-risk individuals, such as housing, counseling, and employment services to name only a few. The mission of Fortune is “to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities.” This is accomplished primarily by believing in an individual’s ability to change with the right guidance. This site is good because it elaborates on some of the most popular of services provided by the agency. During my time at Fortune, I will be working in the housing department as well as the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP), where one of the bigger projects I will help with is to conduct a study related to the effect of criminal background questions in New York State. This effort is called Ban-the-Box, and can be more closely reviewed here. This week, I spent most of my time at the housing center and orientation for the DRCPP starts next week where I will look forward to meeting the rest of the interns.
During my time at the housing center thus far, I have worked with numerous people with varying roles in the organization so I can learn about the efforts of the Center in a holistic manner. I look forward to understanding more about how to create a successful and supportive transitional housing building which is occupied by formerly incarcerated individuals. Every client utilizing the housing services at Fortune is immediately assigned a case manager upon entry to the program who remains in close contact with the client during their time at Fortune.
Case managers typically talk to their clients at least every other week, and through my experience so far, there seems to be an amicable relationship between the two individuals, which creates a more comfortable environment for the client. I had the opportunity to work closely with one case manager in particular; he walked me through conducting room inspections for clients, compiling reports into the computer, and then filing the reports. Next week I will start having one-on-one conversations with clients to discuss their progress in the program including strategizing employment opportunities, overcoming substance abuse, and addressing other issues relevant to their successful re-entry from prison.
Earlier in the week I also worked closely with the supervisor of residential aides; in addition to him showing me the conveniently stocked break room, which was a plus, he guided my through documenting incidents concerning clients. From what I documented, incidents can range from an ambulance being called for a client to a client’s unfortunate re-incarceration to a physical brawl between clients. Perhaps the most shocking and dare I say uncomfortable thing I’ve done so far was administer a urine toxicology test, where I had to watch a client urinate into a plastic cup and proceed to test it for a variety of drugs. Luckily for both me and the client, all of the results were negative.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the summer—I really feel like I have the ability to both directly and indirectly help people.
I started my internship at Riverside Early Intervention in Needham Massachusetts on June the 2nd and on June 13 I completed my first 50hrs!!!
Riverside Early Intervention provides young children ages 0 to 3 with a wide variety of therapeutic services. These children may be having difficulties walking, speaking, interacting with others or may be cognitively delayed. Riverside focuses in helping these children develop their physical and mental skills at an early and crucial stage in their lives, so that in the future, they can live a better life. The program involves a wide variety of professionals including social workers, a physical therapist and a speech pathologist focusing on programs that offer home based therapy, group therapy and evaluations. In my opinion the work that the professionals do at Riverside is priceless because changing a child’s life for the better involves more than the financial aspect. They show caring, love, interest and a genuine feeling of seeing these kids overcome their challenges.
I have been interested in working with children with disabilities since I was young. This is because I have had personal experiences with family members who grew up with me who have physical and mental disabilities. I always thought that I could make a change. In the spring semester of 2014 I spent time volunteering at the Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University. I talked to two early intervention workers that frequented the daycare. We discussed internships relating to social work, and the two women referred me to the head supervisor and internship coordinator at Riverside Community Care Center in Needham, Massachusetts. I reached out to the head coordinator over email and she told me more about the type of work that she does at Riverside. After two months of communication, she interviewed me and gave me an internship at the Intervention Center.
My major responsibilities at this internship involve working alongside a multidisciplinary team within the Riverside Community Care Center, treating children from birth to age 3 and servicing their families living in neighboring communities. I work closely with these children as well as their parents by participating in child-focused and parent-focused groups, which provide parents with training on how to respond to their child’s needs. I develop curricula and therapeutic activities to further increase their development. This position also requires me to record and monitor children’s progress while communicating these results to clinicians. Additionally, I prepare classroom space to accommodate every child’s special circumstances.
This summer I’m expecting to educate myself on a broad variety of childhood disorders. My career goal is to become a clinical psychologist with a focus on child development. The training that I am receiving at the Riverside Community Care Center is helping me to gain insight and skills that will ultimately help me to treat and diagnose children and adolescents with psychological disorders. Also, personally, I want to increase my understanding of family dynamics and intervention methods that are used to assist children with different disabilities. After the summer ends and this experience is over, I am hoping to have gained experience and understanding of the psychology of children, especially those with different kinds of disabilities. I am also hoping that this internship will be one of the biggest stepping-stone of my college career that will ultimately grant me a spot in the professional world.