The family-like atmosphere at HCO has provided staff with great communication skills, strong relationships, and team collaboration. What I love most about this organization is that everyone treats you like a person and not just an employee. I was slightly nervous going into my program because I had never worked in this field before. That quickly faded because everyone was welcoming, encouraging, supportive, and caring toward one another, no matter what role you are in. It’s something I’ve rarely seen in the workforce and that is why I am extremely grateful I chose HCO.
I have been given the opportunity to grow in multiple ways during my internship. One of those is being able to learn and use basic living skills. With clients, I have learned the method and benefit of using redirection for behaviors. For my specific program, there is use of American Sign Language (ASL), and I have loved being introduced to it! It has opened a whole new communication field for me. I’ve always wanted to learn ASL, and now I’ve gotten to learn some signs. This helped me build stronger rapport with the clients, and I was able to better understand the barriers they face. As a social worker, it is important for us to recognize and address these barriers.
In addition, I’ve attended division meetings weekly, a Grassroots meeting, trainings, and Virtual Day at the Capitol. These are a few things I participated in that helped me grow my professional identity and improve my communication skills. I have also become more familiar with policy practice. Some things I have been learning about a lot are medication administration, money management and finances, documentation, and running reports (and more!). All of these opportunities have contributed to my great learning experience and have helped me grow into a more confident person.
This internship has expanded my education and has given me a wealth of knowledge of what it means to be a Social Worker and a Direct Support Professional. I have learned a variety of skills and values that I will use in my future as a Social Worker. Thank you to the full-time and part-time staff who have shown me patience and kindness while teaching me about your roles and sharing your views. Thank you, HCO, for taking me in as an intern. Thank you to the other Coordinators who let me visit your programs to see different environments. Lastly, thank you to my supervisor, Amber Weaver (LSW), for teaching me what it takes to be a great Social Worker! It has been a pleasure interning at HCO.
Kenzie Lyga was an intern this spring at our Pleasant Valley program.