My internship is over and I am now studying abroad in Barcelona! CONNECT was an amazing experience! I am happy to report that I achieved all of my learning objectives. I became proficient in court procedures and many days worked one-on-one with clients helping them through their 209-A hearings. After a rocky start on the hotline where I was very nervous I was able to feel comfortable and confident and was the person on call for two weeks. I participated in outreach programs and interacted with a diverse range of community members. Most importantly I worked with the police in a professional manner and helped clients feel safe and comfortable approaching the police.
I plan to use the knowledge I gained from CONNECT and apply it to my work with SAPHE when I return to Tulane. I hope to take on more responsibilities within SAPHE’s hotline and continue doing meaningful work on campus. I’ve been thinking a lot about how rewarding working with survivors has been for me and I plan to try to gain additional experience with survivor-counseling by pursuing similar internships in New Orleans.
To any student interested in an internship with CONNECT or with an organization that works with survivors I would recommend being open to new expierences. At times things can seem daunting and you might feel insecure in your abilities but you were trained to help and can help. I would also recommend coming to work being as friendly as possible and open to working as a team with your coworkers.
One of the really amazing aspects of my internship is that everyone that works for CONNECT is a woman. I was constantly surrounded by strong women leaders and that felt really empowering. My coworkers were mentors and inspirations to me. One woman who worked at CONNECT had just graduated college and CONNECT was her first job out of school. To work with someone just a couple years older than me who is already such a capable counselor was really inspiring. She was a leader and mentor to me and helped me feel comfortable at CONNECT. I think leadership is all around you in the work place and the more you learn the more you can help others and be a leader to others.
I learned that to become a more effective problem solver I have to keep an open mind. I can’t just think that everything will fit into one box and I have to be open to the idea of unexpected circumstances arising. I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity and for everything I’ve gained from this experience.
Below is an advertisement I made that will be in the local paper this fall. It will be a sticker that people can take off the paper and keep with them. Hopefully more members of the community will learn about CONNECT and use their services.