I attended the PAL celebration but only for a bit because my learner unfortunately ended up not being able to make it to the event. It was fun though to connect with other PAL tutors and also see what other learners had been working on this semester. The event is always very heartwarming! :)
SkillsBoard Member Involvement Child Care Coaching Computer Troubleshooting Driving Help w/People Teaching Technology Tutoring Website Design Website Development Writing
Today I attended with Tory a training on suicide screening and prevention. The training was run by a medical centre in East Providence and it was extremely well-organised and well-run, absolutely awesome to be a part of. I was really grateful to Tory for sharing this opportunity with us interns, and since I'm interested in mental health and crises (and how this intersects w/ clients experiencing homelessness) I was happy to join in. I definitely learned a lot especially how to use an official tool to screen people who might be at risk for committing suicide. It was a heavy topic overall, but a productive way to spend the morning.
In my last week with Home to Hope for the semester, I had some more work sessions with Beatriz and independently, finishing up my deliverables that I touched upon in previous impacts. I also presented to Tory and Michelle about the work that I completed; it seemed that they were happy with the progress the policy interns made as a whole. It was a fun time talking about everything we learned for sure, and I'm personally happy with what I accomplished. I'm looking forward to seeing what we do with this work next semester!
Although a lot of conflicts have limited our meeting times this semester, it was really great to see Michele and Susan today and work through more of our learning goals. Michele has definitely made measurable progress in spelling -- we reviewed some old words and she's a lot more confident now which is awesome. We've spent less time on math -- she's less excited there -- but I'm still super happy with the work we've done.
At our second session Michele and I worked on spelling for the most part—we moved past seasonal words (our focus last year) into spelling of geographies like U.S. states. It was a lot of fun and Michele was really happy, which made me feel great! We made progress and enjoyed ourselves so it was quite productive.
This impact covers my hours spent doing independent work and meeting with Michelle (consultant/head of Home to Hope).
My work weeks were spent in two chunks:
- Wednesdays 1-2pm meetings with the intern group, Tory, and Michelle
- Wednesdays 2-5pm and Thursdays 1-3pm independent work
On the whole thus far I've had a pretty good experience with my site this semester in terms of the work I was able to do and the things I was able to learn.
We at first spent much time brainstorming on what we (the interns assigned policy/advocacy work) wanted to work on, and how those projects could be turned into hard deliverables that would eventually be helpful for Home to Hope as an organisation. Michelle's expertise as a task-oriented consultant to nonprofit groups was invaluable here and she was a huge help in forming our projects and also getting us excited about working on them. Spending more time with her this semester was something I was really happy about—I loved being able to see the unique role she plays in community-oriented work.
One of the first activities we did as an intern group (Beatriz, Clark, and myself) was brainstorm on the root causes and outcomes of [youth] homelessness—this was an interesting inside look at the institutions that have contributed to the homelessness crisis and in my opinion activities like this are so important in doing any sort of meaningful community engagement. It's necessary to keep in mind the systems we are working with and against when trying to enact systematic change.
I initially started working on three personal projects:
1. Policy/legal landscape regarding youth homelessness, social context, education
2. Constituent engagement (how will we involve young people in planning process)
3. Services landscape focussing on mental health and substance use
The first and third projects ended up turning into mostly learning goals, which I'm pretty satisfied with—it's sad to see deliverables become smaller, but it's also important to be realistic about what can get done in only a couple weeks. The second project though ended up being really great, culminating in a joint whitepaper/formal recommendation piece collaborating with Beatriz. I felt like I've made great progress and also learned quite a bit about the current state of policy regarding youth homelessness, which I'm very happy about.
At our first session this week it was great to see Michele as well as her staff-person Susan again. We went over learning goals for the semester (similar to last year, we're working on spelling and maths). Michele was so excited which was really heartwarming and it was also great fun to take pics for the Perspectives site!
This impact covers the time spent in the weekly team meetings with the Home to Hope team.
I really enjoy the group this year — and it's great to form bonds with the entire group of students that work with Home to Hope. Last year, I was mostly unable to make the team meetings, so I'm glad I am able to see them this year. They're a fun way to connect with the group in a way that isn't super formal and feels safe/comfortable. I also especially enjoy them when we are able to get concrete, work-related discussions or deliverables done. It is always good though to have a space to share out about how we're all doing.
Related to the team meetings—I particularly enjoyed being able to work this semester with Julnelle, an employee of Home to Hope—it's always a great experience to meet someone actually working in the field and not just other Brown students doing "service."