Social justice is not only my belief, it is also my destination...
As an MSW student at the University of Connecticut, we are required to do two internships in two years- a total of 1,120 hours. It makes sense that this is the case. The social work program wants to ensure that as a student, I get firsthand experience at working in a social work setting, supervised by social workers. This is not only about getting work experience, but also to reflect on what it means to be a social worker and seeing our Code of Ethics at work. My first internship placement was at CWEALF and I feel extraordinarily fortunate that this was the case. Let me tell you why:
I graduated from undergrad in 2004, which has allowed me many years of experience working in social service. This work experience is what helped me determine that going into social work was the right thing to do for me. Interning at CWEALF was not only full of new experiences, but I was also able to use the skills I've developed along the way. During my time at CWEALF, I have felt myself and my ideology grow. I have never been afraid of having my own thoughts and opinions, but I have been afraid to share them. Interestingly enough, one of my personal struggles was finding a framework of beliefs and values that I identified with.
This year, while interning at CWEALF I have come to the realization that I am a feminist- I know, I'm a little late to this party. This realization and declaration has given me the anchor I have been looking for. CWEALF has had a huge and critical part in how I have continued to define myself. CWEALF’s purpose and history is built in the feminist movement and the work they do continues to propel this movement forward. In recognizing that my beliefs are grounded in equality and equity for all people, I realized that social justice is not only my belief, it is also my destination. Identifying as a feminist, the way I make decisions is rooted in social justice and equality.
My work at CWEALF has been the highlight of my time at the School of Social Work because it has helped me identify my own beliefs and find other people who share in those values through the work that this organization does. CWEALF invited me to take part in advocating for Paid Family Leave and that was the vehicle to an immense amount of personal and professional growth. Analyzing this policy and building skills around it has served as a model for how I will engage the legislative process in my professional future. Paid Family Leave is an important issue. It is a complicated and multi-faceted policy and I feel fortunate to have seen it take shape. CWEALF staff made sure that there was a safe space to ask questions and to become familiar with this policy. This is one of CWEALF's strengths- to make room for people to gather information and make their form their own opinions.
CWEALF inspired something in me that I didn't know existed- the want and the will to do work around policy-making. I've learned that there are so many different opportunities to do this, and I can't wait to figure out how to best do the work I am passionate about. Finding something new about myself isn't something that happens everyday and this in and of itself is priceless experience. Thank you, CWEALF not only for my experience but also for all the work that you do for women, girls and their families.
Intern with CWEALF! Learn more here.
By Lorena Crespo Morgan at 3 Aug 2016, 09:27 AM
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