Meet the Social Work Interns: Elizabeth
Posted: February 9, 2016
Institution: Tarleton State University
Major: Social Work
Class: Undergraduate, 2016
What are your career plans?
“I want to hopefully go to the master’s program at UTA to get my MSW part-time and afterward, work in healthcare.”
Why did you choose to intern at UGM-TC?
“This was one of three places I was wanting to intern at but when I came here for my interview, that sealed it. This became my number one place and I didn’t ask to be interviewed anywhere else, so luckily, I got it.”
What during your interview that sealed the deal for you?
“Betty and Deb [Clinical Director of Programs] explaining the programs just really impressed me. I knew of some things here such as chapel and some of the programs that were shown online at the time but I found out so much more when I interviewed here such as the tutoring program, the Children’s Enrichment Program, that they have for the kids, the classes that the residents can be enrolled in such as parenting and financial classes. That’s what really got me – the different programs the residents can be enrolled in so they have the skills to not only transition into permanent housing but to stay in housing so they don’t repeat the cycle of becoming homeless again. I was just really impressed that UGM-TC gives the residents the knowledge and skills to make it on their own after they leave this program.”
Had you heard of the Mission before your interview?
“Not really. The first time I became aware of the Mission was at the fair that my school had. They gave us the information of what agencies could possibly be there and that was actually the first time I’d heard of UGM-TC. Then on my own, I just looked into a lot of the places from the list they gave us.”
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
“To see the big picture. A few of the case managers have shown me how to see the bigger picture beyond what is in front of me. I not only look at the issue that a specific resident may have but also how it can influence their family and the community if they become homeless again. The cycle can happen all over again if they don’t get the skills they need before they leave. I’ve also learned how a resident’s actions not only affect their families but also other agencies. Multiple agencies work together for the good of the resident.”
What’s a stereotype that you’ve debunked during your time here?
“I’ve learned that becoming homeless can happen to anyone. I think before interning here, I saw homelessness as something that maybe happened to people that…I hate to say this…but maybe happened to people who didn’t try enough. I’ve learned it’s so much more than that, especially from doing the new resident orientations on Mondays and listening to the residents’ stories. There are so many different circumstances that bring people here. It’s just really eye opening. Now, it’s changed my viewpoint. I see homelessness as more of a series of bad luck – I think that’s the best way to describe it. I’ve talked to homeless people that come in and listen to what’s happened to them and a lot of times, there are things that have happened to them outside of their control. That’s my reminder that becoming homeless can happen to anyone.”
What do you like most about interning at UGM-TC?
“The interaction I get with the outside homeless population during the new resident orientation such as hearing what’s happened to them and trying to get them additional help outside of UGM-TC. For example, one of the rules is having valid identification. I am able to let them know what they can do to get that and where to go. If they need to get caught up on their medication, I can point them in the right direction for that as well. Another thing I really like is observing the case managers and seeing what they deal with and how they handle the situations that come along. This is such a type of job that situations come up that you may not be prepared for. You can be in your office and all of a sudden, a resident has to see you because of some issue. You don’t have a whole lot of time to prepare and it’s been interesting to see how the case managers handle those situations. Going back to resident interaction, there are so many families I like here and I have to work on not getting attached because this is my second semester here. I try not to think about it too much but the semester is ending and I’m going to miss seeing them. I’m always happy to hear news that a resident has permanent housing but at the same time it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to see them again.’”
Do you see yourself returning as a full-time employee?
“Well, I haven’t given that much thought because I really want to go into healthcare.”
How do you think that this internship has prepared you for that?
“I think different things that I’ve learned here will help me such as getting experience with ClientTrack, the resident interaction and seeing the big picture. The issue may not always be the problem you see in front of you. I think that can help in healthcare because one issue can lead to another issue and that’s something I have to be ready for. I think this place helps prepare me for that.”