Friends Association

My Experience as an Intern

Carly Hill

 

My name is Carly Hill, and I am a senior social work major at West Chester University. Besides being a student, I work as an intern on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays, I intern at Friend’s Association in West Chester and on Thursdays I intern at the Department of Community Development. At Friend’s Association, I assist with shelter case management and volunteer tasks. Sometimes my tasks are as simple as giving winter coats, cleaning supplies or hygiene products to families that need it. I also design the bulletin board at the shelter, which advertises community events, Friend’s Association updates, and resources. Also, I helped set up and attended Friends Association’s Fall Festival at the Oscar Lasko YMCA.  When I am helping with shelter case management, I meet with the families, assess their needs, and discover what led the family to becoming homeless. Also, I help the families create and accomplish a goal plan. My work includes connecting the clients to resources, such as mental health services, food banks, rapid rehousing programs, and child care.

At DCD, I have many roles, which include working with the Decade to Doorways team, the VISTAs, and sitting in on meetings. Also, I sit in on the VI-SPDAT calls with Gene Suski and other staff members. Decade to Doorways focuses on hunger and homelessness awareness and is Chester County’s ten year plan to end and prevent homelessness. I am working with the Decade to Doorways team to plan the annual Point in Time Count. Also, I am helping to advertise for the National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week movie nights, which take place during the week of November 12th.  Another task of mine includes sitting in on Permanent Housing Options Committee meetings, where I take notes and keep track of the meeting minutes.

There is a true fascination in seeing and participating in many aspects of ending and preventing homelessness. Whether that be the micro level of helping families one on one, the mezzo level of sitting in on meetings, or the macro level of learning about DCD and HUD policies. I was trained on how to use Chester County Client Information Management System (CCCIMS) and how to complete a SPDAT assessment. As a bachelor’s level social work intern, I have learned an incredible amount over the last few months. I will be interning at both Friends’ Association and DCD until May and I am excited to keep learning how to prevent and end homelessness.

 

9/11 National Day of Service: Commemorating Tragedy and Triumph

Lara Dorfman, BA

 

On the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, we look back on a tragic day in American history. Much like previous anniversaries, it can feel impossible to deservingly commemorate the victims, survivors, and heroes who risked their lives without a second thought. That is why in 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. A day so vividly remembered but hard to comprehend has now become a day to give back, to honor the fallen, and to take note of the resilience and compassion that first responders and everyday citizens showed on this day sixteen years ago.

On Friday morning, just a few short days before the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, several members of the Chester County Department of Community Development teamed up with Friends Association in West Chester for a Day of Service in remembrance of 9/11. Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children is Pennsylvania’s oldest continual running child welfare agency. Friends Association works with families who are experiencing homelessness or on the verge of homelessness by providing emergency family shelter, homeless prevention programs, and outreach to homeless families. Friends relies on volunteers to keep administrative costs minimal, which in turn allows the money to be better spent on programs and services.

The Chester County Department of Community Development volunteers split into two groups. The first group stayed in the Friends Association office and helped prepare for the release of their newsletter. Friends Association explained that a few hours of stuffing envelopes saves over $2,000, which can then be used to assist a family in need. The second group set out to Friends Association’s Emergency Family Shelter down the street, where the morning was spent cleaning, weeding, and moving a family of five from a small apartment to a larger two bedroom apartment, where they will be much more comfortable.

The Chester County Department of Community Development recognizes the importance of embracing different ideas and working together as a team, the same way our 9/11 heroes did sixteen years ago. We volunteer to bridge the gap of our differences and work hard to implement solutions that benefit humanity. As we march forward together, we give back in remembrance to those who lost their lives, lost their loved ones, and risked everything to help others on September 11, 2001.