Learn. Lead. Create community. My internship, Erie Neighborhood House, keeps this motto on their building and it serves as a reminder for me when I come in to work each day. I have been striving to do those three things during my time here. I have really been growing and doing so much that the first part of the semester seems like a blur. I am already over half way done with the semester!
I have been learning so much by being at my internship. One topic that I have learned a lot about is immigration. I have seen firsthand how immigration policy directly affects our clients. When President Obama delayed immigration action again until after the November election, the community of West Town was outraged. Erie released a statement that they are extremely disappointed and angry about the President’s decision to delay action and feels it is a slap in the face for the community’s many immigrants.
I am trying to take more of a leadership role at my internship. I have led a team-building activity that taught the kids about communication and working together. I have begun a research project where I created a new parent needs assessment for the youth program, YOU (Youth Options Unlimited), to use when they enroll a child. I will be giving the sample to a group of kids for one of their parents to fill out. We hope to find out what the YOU program is doing well and what it needs to improve or add to make it more helpful.
Creating community is something that I see happening at my site each and every day. It is a place where anyone is immediately welcomed no matter what one’s background or the baggage one carries. The kids get a safe place to come learn, have fun, and make lasting friendships. Erie is a place where the neighborhood can grow together and receive the services they need. I am truly blessed to be working in such an amazing organization.
Outside of my internship I have had a lot more fun adventures! My Social Work seminar class visited the Humboldt Park neighborhood together. We were given a tour of the Paseo Boricua, a Puerto Rican themed street, visited a church in the area, and ate some delicious Puerto Rican food.
I have also gone to the Field Museum and National Museum of Mexican Art, went to the Great Chicago Fire Festival, eaten in Greek Town, and took an architectural boat tour on the Chicago river just to name a few. I am looking toward the last half of the semester with an open heart and mind and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for me!