As I have been spending more time at my internship, I am finding that I am surrounded by some of the most amazing staff members I have ever met. Not only have I been lucky enough to have one great mentor, but I have several terrific ladies who teach me about social work and the world. My Executive Director told me from day one that I would get as much out of my time here as I was willing to put in; since I knew that I wanted to have a meaningful experience, I have put a lot of time and effort into every hour at the shelter. Though there are days that I may not feel my best, it is still important to do my best because I know that it can make a world’s difference for our clients. My longer days still seem short and full of experience and advice because I am constantly surrounded by my amazing coworkers.
As they all have different strengths and responsibilities, they all teach me different aspects of their jobs. There are a range of services that Domestic Harmony provides from individual counseling to legal aid to childcare. So far, I have learned how to do paperwork for clients, how to handle crisis calls, and how to fill out personal protection orders. All of these tasks may seem minor to someone reading this but for our clients, they can mean that they may feel safe for the first time in years. That is why my favorite thing that I have learned from all of my coworkers is how to help a client; especially since so many come from different backgrounds and they are dealing with unique situations. I feel like with the staff that I work with, I have learned to be a kinder and more patient as well as a better member of society.
While each of the women I have befriended and worked with thus far are all incredible on their own, the shelter is so successful because of their teamwork. Instead of each worker doing their own thing without much communication with their coworkers, the women rarely ever make an important decision without asking for approval/advice from the rest of staff. Our Executive Director is a great leader as she is willing to take the blame for anything and always wants to hear everyone’s ideas. Instead of just bossing all of us around, she includes us in her work which promotes efficient and successful work. She told me from my first day that she would never micromanage or yell at me which is how she treats the rest of staff. And since she has kept her word on that, I never feel bad or scared to ask her for advice. Rather, I am eager to get her input on projects and ideas because I know she will do whatever she can to help me. This is what I have experienced with all of the women so far and it is by far the best work place I have ever been a part of. Instead of feeling nervous to share opinions, I know that here they will be respected and interesting. By having such an open work place, I have felt like a true part of staff and it has made me love my internship even more.