Posted by: soulshinemoments | April 30, 2013

Last day of Internship

Today was my official last meeting at my internship at the homeless shelter.  I was really finished back in the middle of April, but my supervisor wanted to throw us a little good-bye party.  She bought us pizzas, a frame with our pictures in it where everyone from the internship put their signature with a message on it, a gift certificate to starbucks (my personal favorite part!). I am going to miss that place.  I’ve been there since August and the shelter really opened my eyes to a serious and constant need in our society. 

Some things my internship taught me:

-GRATITUDE for how richly I am blessed both in materials and with my relationships (specifically with my friendships and Jack, Jackson, & Ariel!) So many individuals at the shelter come in with a backpack on their back.  And, then, when I ask them, “Whom may we contact in case of an emergency?”  They often answer, “No one.  I have no family, no friends, no one who cares.” Jack and I are poor as hell.  I’ve got so much debt from school and he is pretty much able to break even with selling his glass.  But, we have way more than others and are richly blessed with each other and our beautiful kiddies.

-Homelessness is an extremely complicated issue.  Most of the clients I have encountered have undiagnosed (and sometimes diagnosed) mental illnesses of depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia (a frequent one!).  These are the most common.  Then they try to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs which just increases their poverty, decreases their availability  of positive relationships, and almost makes them unable to function.  Friends and family and employers cut them off.  They became entrapped in a cycle of poverty.  Not to mention, many clients have already encountered a traumatic childhood or other abusive relationship and are already dealing with their scars from that.

-On the flip side, humans are also extremely strong, adaptable, and can overcome a great deal. Breaking old habits and “paradigms” of living is part of what holds us back, though.

-If you’re wanting to serve those in the homeless community, or anyone for that matter, serve them boldly and without fear.  Remember, we are more alike than different.  Reach out with compassion and wisdom.

Now, I am ready for a fun and adventurous summer and then ready to begin my internship at hospice next year! I love the process of becoming a social worker.  Except for these 2 exams and presentation I have to do this week….

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Responses

  1. I worked with the homeless population for my first year of internship as well, and it was every difficulty. There were many times when I went home in tears after working with one particular client who was in High School and had been kicked out by her parents. It makes you so grateful for what you have. My second year I worked with domestic violence victims and everyday I would go home and hug my husband, feeling so grateful to have a loving man by my side.
    Social Work is hard and draining work, but it is also very rewarding when you are able to help someone and see the changes they have made and all the obstacles they work to overcome 🙂
    Best of luck in your second year, if it helps at all, I thought my second year of graduate school was much easier than the first!

    • Thanks for the comments. Thanks for the hope that second year will be easier than this first one was, too. 🙂 I appreciate the comment! Have a wonderful day!


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