- Robin Neeson
Give three words that sum up your internship experience.
Enlightening, Amazing, Motivating
How did you learn about your internship?
“Carthage College webpage for Social Work Majors. This is a great resource for any student thinking about becoming a social work major.”
Describe your internship.
“Juvenile crisis is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and juveniles in crisis. This agency also partners with the Kenosha County Department of Children and Families to investigate child abuse. I had the opportunity to work alongside the full-time crisis workers to assess juveniles for suicide ideations, mental health issues, and possible child abuse. I visited homes to aid in finding community services for families in need and assisting families in conflict resolution. Juvenile crisis regularly receives calls from the local schools and homes about mental health or safety concerns for juveniles. I saw how agencies such as hospitals, schools, county departments, non-profits, and law enforcement all work together for a common goal of keeping minors safe and mentally healthy.
This position allowed me to not only go into homes, but also visit children and youths in many different environments, such as hospitals, school, jail and group homes.”
What do you enjoy most about your internship? What are some of the challenges?
“I really enjoy the people and environment. KHDS/Juvenile crisis treats employees with great respect and kindness. They believe mistakes are to be expected and when they happen, teaching is more effective than discipline or harsh words. Teaching to “mistakes” increases honesty and openness in all tasks that need to be completed, because it becomes a learning experience.
Due to the high stress of child welfare work, workers are mindful to have fun. As an intern, this can be a challenging balance. Bringing in snacks or going for lunch are great ways to get to know co-workers. However, sometimes conversations at lunch had potential to reveal too much personal information. It is important to know that line between being friendly and being too personal.
One of the biggest challenges I face is learning how to leave the day at the office. It is difficult to hear young children speak about being suicidal, living in difficult home situations, or witnessing the effects of child neglect and then going home at the end of the day. I am realizing how important self care is for my own mental health and the health of my family.”
How does your internship fit with your long-term career goals?
“I plan on having a career in child welfare. Juvenile crisis plays a key role in the child welfare system in Kenosha County. Dealing with families and juveniles in crisis will aid me in knowing more about the child welfare system and the resources in the community.
This field work also enables me to continue to build professional resources and references for my future career.”
During your internship search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?
“As a non-traditional student I easily stood out from other students. I also used my life experiences to not only show what I could bring to the position, but I also expressed what I was looking forward to learning.”
What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?
“I had the opportunity to observe at Juvenile Crisis, for a short time, prior to interviewing. The observation time allowed me to get a feel for the environment of the office and build some rapport with the supervisor and other staff, prior to the interview. This was helpful in my confirmation that it was field placement I was interested in, but also it put me at ease prior to the interview.”
Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?
“No matter what your age is, take advantage of the opportunity do an internship or fieldwork. It is a great way to learn more about a field of interest. This will also give you an opportunity to begin building your resume and references.
Building a strong rapport with your supervisor and other employees will aid in giving them the desire to teach you. Offer to do the jobs no one likes, but then ask to observe and learn how to do the tasks that interest you. When you are doing a task. no matter how small it may seem, do it well! A small task done well leads to bigger tasks given sooner. Be responsible and 10 minutes early.
Do not be afraid to ask questions!”