From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Making Memories

by Lauren Gobelman

I am embarking on a month of working at Esperanza Community Services in the West Town area of Chicago. I have had some really incredible opportunities at my internship thus far. My internship is a school designed to work and help children with developmental disabilities to achieve their goals. Not only do they have a school program, but they also have an adult day program as well as assisted living housing called Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA). I have been able to shadow three great social workers during my time here and have been able to sit in on an IEP meeting as well as an all staff training called Transition-Palooza. Needless to say, I have tons of learning opportunities here and have several people I can go to whenever I have a question or concern about something. Plus, working with children with disabilities everyday is honestly the best. I have such a profound joy and sense of fulfillment working with these beautiful individuals and I am so blessed to be here this semester.

I grew up in the Chicago-land area, which is one of the main reasons for me wanting to be a part of this wonderful program that is Chicago Semester. Since I have family that lives near the heart of the city I was able to live with a relative to save some money this semester on housing. One of my main concerns was whether or not I would be able to build friendships with the other students. Luckily my good friend Joey lives in Canterbury this semester and has been great with including me and making sure that I make friends. The past two weeks have been spent celebrating my birthday and my new friend Sam’s birthday. We were all able to get together and celebrate over some games and socializing. I am very blessed to have met some really great people and luckily for me I am a very outgoing person so it’s easy for me to be intentional about meeting new people. I am making tons of memories and long-lasting friendships with my new friends from Dordt and Calvin College.

This past Sunday, February 15th, the social work and nursing students enjoyed the afternoon visiting the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on UIC’s campus. We had an awesome tour by one of the student’s who works for the museum. She took us through every room of the house and was filled with more knowledge than I could ever dream of obtaining. I really enjoyed her tour because she knew what she was talking about, she encouraged dialogue during her tours, and she taught me a lot. I learned that Jane Addams partnered with Ellen Gates Starr to co-found the Hull House settlement in 1889. I also learned that Wells-Barnett and Addams worked together to block the establishment of segregated public schools as well as co-signed “The Call” which proposed the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The other students enjoyed the time that we had there and had tons of great questions to ask our tour guide. I would say that the tour was a success! We all came out of the experience knowing more than when we went in there. I would even go back another time on my own to spend more time walking through and reading all of the displays. To end, here is a group picture of the social work interns at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Getting Acclimated to Chicago

by Joseph Helder

This is the beginning of my fourth week of working for Evanston District 65 schools. Today is a special day because school was canceled. I love snow days!! Throughout the course of yesterday we got about 18 inches of snow. Many other Chicago semester interns are also enjoying a day off. This is a great way to start the week. I have been enjoying my internship but who would not take an extra day off at the the end of the weekend. 

After last week it feels like I am finally acclimated to a school social work schedule. Because I am living in the Gold Coast neighborhood and my internship is with Evanston schools,  I have been getting up at 6:00am to get ready and catch the train. Depending on which school I am at that day I either take the red line to purple line then use a bus or just red line to purple line and walk to school. I switch schools depending on the day of the week, and some days I also switch schools half way through the day. It just goes to show that social workers need to be flexible. It is easier to be flexible for certain situations, snow days for example. At work I have mainly been sitting in on meeting but there are more and more opportunities for me to interview parents and lead small groups with the students. When we do conduct groups I teach the preschoolers about emotional regulation. I also get to work with a couple different groups of middle schoolers and high schoolers with developmental disabilities. These groups are always a highlight of my day. 

Overall the first few weeks here in Chicago have been great. I feel like I have mastered public transportation and have devised a budget I can stick to with some work. These past few weekends I have enjoyed getting to know the other students from different colleges. It sounds like our campus experiences have been very similar, and we get along very well. Here is a picture of some of us getting ice cream after we saw a show at the Looking Glass Theater last week.