First few days at Alvis House

I think I mayyy have made a mistake by waiting until I was a week and a half into the fellowship before beginning to write about it. I don’t even know where to begin! I guess I’ll start with the most basic and most important info, a description of my project and the people that I will be working with.

Everybody that I’ve met at Alvis House so far has been incredibly welcoming. From Jennifer, April, and Gloria on the resource development team, who I will be working closely with, to Jeff and Corinne down the hall, who I will have almost no professional contact with but encourage me to stop by whenever I need a break from the computer, everyone has made it clear that the Alvis House staff is a big family, willing to lend a hand whenever it’s needed. Even Miss Carol at the front desk always takes the time to ask me about my day and to offer a friendly greeting, and various others have stopped by the ol’ cubicle to say hello, introduce themselves, and let me know that I can always holler if I need anything.

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So onto Alvis House itself! Alvis House is an organization that has two main focuses. One is corrections, in which they provide assistance to people involved in the criminal justice system. They run halfway houses, provide rehabilitation services, offer job skills training, and connect clients with employers. The other main area is developmental disabilities, and they provide similar yet different skills training and employment services to people living with DD.

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The best way that I can think to describe my role at Alvis House this summer is as a sort of investigative reporter of any and every trend that may influence the services at Alvis House. I will be performing an environmental scan, conducting a SWOT analysis, and facilitating focus groups and interviews (how’s that for business school lingo?!) with various Alvis House staff members and clients. The goal is to spot external trends that may affect Alvis House in the future and to determine if any changes need to be made to AH services. Having an environmental scan and a step-by-step strategy laid out on paper will also help AH to become CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) certified, which will increase the organization’s clout and make it easier to receive funding. This week, I’ve mostly been doing research on the computer and attending orientation sessions, but next week, I have a bunch of meetings scheduled with various people in the organization in order to gain a better understanding of what each individual part does.

My experience so far has been awesome! I’ve learned so much just in the past week and a half, and I’m excited about the insight that will surely be gained from speaking with other staff members next week.

Until next time,

Bridget

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