From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Experiencing Chicago as a Tourist, by Jenna Harms

These past few weeks, I have been a tourist in the city of Chicago. There have been many touristy activities that I have been a part of but it has really helped me gain an appreciation for the city. I had a friend visit me on President’s Day and we went on an adventure to Chinatown and walked around and enjoyed some authentic Chinese food. We then went to the top of the Hancock and had dessert while enjoying a great view of the city. After that we enjoyed a walk to Navy Pier.

While it has not been entirely warm here, I try to take advantage of the warm days as best as I possibly can even when warm means that it is like 35 degrees outside. I have also been to some awesome theater events through the Chicago Semester fine art events option. In two weeks I got to go to Chicago the Musical which was really cool to go to because of its roots in Chicago. We also were given the opportunity to go the production called Heartbeat of Home which had Irish dancing that was phenomenal. It was great to get to see this production so close St. Patrick’s Day.

Speaking of St Patrick’s Day, Chicago has some cool events that happen that weekend. They are known for the dying of the river.  I attended this event with a couple of friends. It was fun to cheer on the guys pouring dye into the river and watching it turn a bright green. After that we ventured over to the parade for a while and heard some great marching bands and saw men in skirts.

I also was given the opportunity to attend a Bulls game at a discounted price through Chicago Semester. It was so much fun to get to go and watch a team that I had grown up hearing about. I had never been to a professional sporting event before so this was great.

I have gotten to do many other things this semester but these last two weeks have been jam packed with activities that have given me a better view of the city. My internship is still going great, each and every day I learn something new and get to experience a new thing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hull House and Heartland, by Jenna Harms

A couple weeks ago for our social work class, we got to go to the Hull House and see and learn about how Jane Addams impacted the city of Chicago. I was so excited to get to go to this place because of how much I had learned in all of my social work classes about her and all of the wonderful things she had done. When I was there I was amazed! The buildings, the complexities of the programs, and all of the people that were impacted by this impressed me so much and made me want to practice social work even more than I already do.

It was also really cool to learn about all of the immigrants that the Hull House served. When we were leaving, our coordinator pointed that out to us. It was awesome to imagine people arriving to the city, walking to the Hull House and getting help settling into the city.

I love this, because this is what I am doing with my internship at Heartland Alliance as well. I get to welcome people into the United States some of the first days they are here and help them receive services. Within the next two weeks, the organization that I am interning for will help settle approximately thirty refugees and I get to be a part of that. I will learn about their hopes and dreams during their intake, I will learn about their health during their home visits, I will get to help them apply for Public Aid and Social Security, and I will get to see the pride in their face when they receive their state identification.

A couple weeks ago, I got to take a couple people to receive their state ID. They were so proud when they had this permanent piece of identification in their hands. They showed everyone around them. Witnessing activities like these makes me kind of feel like a proud parent – and I think that is a good thing in the profession of social work. Our clients essentially become our children.

No I am not a parent and I know I am far away from being a parent, but I know from how I was raised that parents teach and help along the way and eventually they let go and let their children go on their own. That is what I have been doing, I have been teaching and helping participants to become accustomed to living in this country and soon I will be letting them go off on their own. Some days I wonder what the future holds for these participants and if I will ever run into them in the future. I hope that happens because I am eager to hear about how their hopes and dreams that they communicated in the initial intake interview came true.

I really like what Jeremiah 29:7-14 says:

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

The Lord is with us and He will guide our steps. He will guide the participants of Heartland Alliance, He will guide me, and He will guide you to where you were meant to be in life.