Internship with Soledad Enrichment Action

Internship with Soledad Enrichment Action


Written by a Master of Social Work (MSW) Candidate 2013,
University of Southern California (USC)

       As we come to the end of this chapter of our first intern experience an opportunity is afforded me to reflect on the challenges, learned lessons, and accomplishments of this life-changing experience. Eight months ago, a group of interns with diverse backgrounds and cultures gathered together at the SEA Manchester charter school site in South Los Angeles for a three-day field placement orientation with their potential clinical supervisors, Sr. Elisa Martinez, MSW, who holds a master’s degree in social work and Fr. Stan Bosch, Psy. D., with a doctoral degree in psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.  They both share decades of experience working with vulnerable populations. Some of us became overwhelmed with the information, especially after viewing a National Geographic documentary that depicts the reality that some program participants are challenged with daily. This process was specifically designed to prepare internship candidates with a realistic perspective and provide an opportunity to examine the fit between the candidates’ educational goals and SEA, their participants, and services. As a result, a majority of us made an informed decision and commitment to come aboard as interns with Soledad Enrichment Action.

       As stated earlier, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Master of Arts in Psychology (MA), Master of Social Work (MSW), and Doctor of Psychology (Psy. D.) interns were a diverse group of students from prominent universities, such as The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Cal. St., Dominguez Hills, Cal. St., LA, Loyola Marymount University, and The University of Southern California.  As interns, we were given the opportunity to participate in learning by first-hand experience with our students, clients and their families; thus, learning how to implement therapeutic interventions that promote the well-being of participants, and gaining awareness and growth through supervision. Additionally, we had access to trainings that focused on cultural awareness and theoretical approaches, and received learning opportunities that illustrated the importance of working in conjunction with stakeholders, schools, programs, community-based organizations, parents, and law enforcement and the facilitation of effective systems. 

        It has been an honor to be accepted into the diverse and unique communities and welcomed by the participants who we are privileged to serve. Although teachers, school and program staff, interventionists, case managers, administrators, and leadership provided a wealth of knowledge and learning opportunities, the most significant and meaningful learning opportunities occurred during the therapeutic alliance, which are the one on one’s with our clients. Our instructors, the participants and their families, taught us the meaning of courage, resiliency, and perseverance; thus, illuminated the interconnectedness of all humanity. At the end of this powerful experience, we gained skills that emphasize the professional practice of healing, and had an invaluable and unforgettable internship experience. 

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