Something I hadn’t expected over the course of this internship was how much I would learn from the blogs of the other Fellows. While my main focus as a semi-professional is on health care, I know that there are a lot of other factors that intersect to make up health, including the environment, access to housing and nutritious food, and access to safe and fulfilling leisure and education. Seeing what other fellows are doing offered me an opportunity to develop my understanding of what other nonprofits are doing to address those factors.
The staff of the ALS Association have welcomed me with open arms, and I’ve been treated like a member of the team while here. I’ve gotten to participate in the staff lunches and events, and last week they even had an office lunch for me to thank me for the work I’ve done this summer. They gave me a card which everyone signed.
(Evidently my chatting about the kitten I adopted this summer made an impression on them.)
I’ve been lucky to work with such great people, and it’s been nice while I’ve been here to be regarded as an equal with assets to bring to the office rather than a gopher. I had a fantastic experience at my first year social work field practicum at Mount Carmel, but even there I was still doing a lot of shadowing and learning moreso than working on real contributions. I’m glad that here I was able to learn while bringing something tangible to the organization.
I’m continuing on in a couple of weeks to my final year of grad school and my second year field practicum, which is at the VA hospital’s spinal cord injury clinic. What’s extra exciting is that this is where our veteran ALS patients get referred for treatment, so I’ll be able to have a continuing relationship with some of those patients, and with my coworkers Leigh and Peggy too. I’m happy to be able to carry the skills I’ve learned over the summer forward with me into my next chapter.