As the school year has come to an end, Awaken has said goodbye to six of our spring interns and welcomed four new summer interns! These students are a vital part of the Awaken team, and every semester it’s tough to say goodbye. Both staff and clients become close to them. During the spring semester, most of our interns have not only had the opportunity to work at the office and with clients in our Drop In Center, but also with our house staff and residents.
During their last week at Awaken, we asked each intern a few questions about their experiences working at Awaken. We hope this interview helps you understand a bit more about our internship program, and also helps you see Awaken through a new perspective.
What has been the best part of your internship at Awaken?
Interaction with the women.
Interacting and helping each client that comes into Awaken. It also has been rewarding to see the progress within many of the clients.
The friendships I have formed with the clients who currently live at the house have been the best part. They may be in recovery, but they are the strongest women I have ever met. They often greet me with a smile, and enjoy teasing me about the fact that I struggle to shuffle cards whenever they have me join them in a card game. They have shown me that strength and healing comes in many forms.
What has been the most challenging part?
Not being able to have the answer to everything and not being able to have enough community resources for these women.
Finding free time to complete my internship.
Friendships I have formed with the clients. I want to see them succeed and continue on their path to recovery, but I have learned that there is only so much I can do for them and I pray that they can learn from their mistakes when they fall. They have opened up to me about their past, and although it is hard to hear at times and breaks my heart, I can only hope it helps them heal from their past.
What have you learned during your internship?
I have learned many things from my internship. Two main learning opportunities I was able to gain was conflict and empathy skills working with the different clients. There were many cases where empathy was needed when listening to client’s stories but there was also conflict that arose, so being able to handle those situations was a great learning opportunity.
I learned to stay flexible and enjoy every minute.
I learned to take time to make sure I am okay at the end of the day. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the world, and practicing self-care constantly and consistently. I was taught that in the business of helping, I need to prioritize not only the client’s mental health, but mine as well.
What advice would you give to new interns just starting at Awaken?
I’d say do research on sexual trafficking in the United States and also Reno. It is important to be aware of this issue and educated on it to help better your experience as an intern.
We cannot save or rescue people, just do your best to help people understand their value. Make every interaction count and be genuine.
Thank you to all of our interns! We so appreciate you! We hope that your experiences at Awaken continue to drive your heart to serve others and make a positive change in the world.