Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ashley Starcher, Intern at the Workforce Investment Act Youth Program

Ashley Starcher is a Transitions Coordinator intern at the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program through Tri-County Educational Services Center. The WIA was passed by congress in 1998 and is a workforce development system that helps employers find the right employee after they have been trained through the program. The WIA Youth Program is geared at helping young people gain the skills and resources necessary for long-term employment.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

I work through Tri-County Educational Services Center, but my office is located at the Job and Family Services building in Ashland. The Workforce Investment Act is in place to help adults and youth, but I specifically service youth ages 14-21. Through the program, youth can gain paid work experience or receive funding assistance to further their education through individual classes or up to a two-year program.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in.
In my job, I place youth at worksites throughout the county. There they work for up to approximately 200 hours, all while getting paid. The goal is for them to obtain work experience to help knock down barriers to obtaining a full-time job on their own. While they are in the program, I assist them with goal-setting and other interventions they may need. If the youth is not enrolled in the program for work experience, they are placed in classes for training or other education, such as STNA classes. I can assist them with transportation and other possible needs, such as uniforms for clinicals. Most of the youth are in high school, so I get to work with them in school as well. I have been involved with a specific group of students multiple times during their first period class. I teach them different responsibilities, such as budgeting, creating resumes, and utilizing online resources to search for jobs or explore career options.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
I feel that learning about empathy in my classes has been very beneficial for me. I am able to create a healthy relationship with the youth because of the different techniques I was taught. Building relationships with the adolescents is very important for an efficient intervention, so I am very thankful for the skills I gained from my professors.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
My absolute favorite aspect of my job is working with the youth in the high school. Being able to teach them different approaches to success is interesting, and watching them retain the information is even more rewarding. I really enjoy watching them grow within their placements, as well. It allows me to feel like I am truly helping them in this vulnerable stage of their life.

For more information about the Workforce Investment Act, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Haley Mossing, Intern at Ashland Parenting Plus


Haley Mossing is an intern at Ashland Parenting Plus. This organization strives to enhance lives by providing education, promoting responsible decisions, and offering different opportunities for children. 

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

Ashland Parenting Plus (APP) consists of three different programs that provide a variety of services: Parenting Education, Juvenile Diversion, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Parenting Education is for parents who are looking to further their skills as well as gain the necessary tools to assist them in raising their children. APP also offers Divorce Education which is mandated through court system for any couple who has children. The Juvenile Diversion program consists of both individual and group mentors that work with youth to develop their assets and create a lasting and positive change. One new aspect of Juvenile Diversion is Wraparound, which is a family intervention that is designed to allow the family along with their chosen natural supports to lead the change efforts. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program is more than just a sex education program. TPP educates youth in various different subject areas regarding all different aspects of life. There are groups for females called Empowerment Groups and groups for males called Respect Groups which take place throughout the school year in the elementary, middle, and high schools in the county.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?

I am currently working mostly with the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. Until recently, I have been observing but now I am getting to lead some activities with the girls. Soon I will be leading the entire session. I work with three different group facilitators, one for each different level of schooling (elementary, middle, and high school). I am also currently working on a project where I am gathering data from the past several years to determine the effectiveness of the TPP programs for a grant to potentially expand TPP to some surrounding counties. I have also worked with Wraparound, participating in family team meetings. 

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared your for your internship?

The Ashland University Social Work Program has provided me with the basic knowledge and skills to prepare me to work in the social work field. I was nervous going into my internship that I was not prepared, but I am always surprising myself with how much I actually know from my education through the program. The Social Work Program has taught me the importance of client empowerment, how to interact with clients in order to help them throughout the helping relationship, as well as the fundamental skills for documentation.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?

I mostly enjoy working with the groups in the TPP program. Working with groups was something that I was extremely nervous about going into my internship, but the more I observe and the more involved I become with leading groups, the more I enjoy it and look forward to those days. I love getting to watch the girls grow as individuals and help them become vibrant young women.


For more information about Ashland Parenting Plus, please visit their website.
 
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their  website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kaitlynn Dolezal, Intern at The Mental Health and Recovery Board

Kaitlynn Dolezal is an intern at The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County. This Board is a branch of county government, composed of 18 citizen volunteers who ensure the availability of mental health support services.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
My internship is a little more unique with it being a macro level agency. The Board works with other social service agencies in Ashland County in order to ensure that the needs of the community are being met. The Board writes grants, plans many events, and educates the community. From the website, it says, "County Boards are responsible to determine local needs, develop a community plan, set priorities, direct resources and monitor services in their district. This provides an opportunity to create integrated systems of care that are most responsive to the needs and desires of the local citizens. This is important because characteristics of counties vary widely and there is a mix of urban, suburban and rural areas in Ohio that makes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach particularly ineffective."

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
I have had the opportunity to work with both the Mental Health and Recovery Board and the Family and Children First Council in a variety of activities. I have worked a bit on planning events for Child Abuse & Neglect Awareness Month in April, and Elder Abuse & Neglect Awareness in June. I have also been able to attend and participate in countless meetings and trainings the board participates in and puts on!

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
I cannot express how thankful I am for the education I have received in the Social Work Program. Because of my professors, I have felt so comfortable and prepared for my internship, and even graduate school!

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
Honestly, I am absolutely loving all of the information I am absorbing at the Board! I am also loving all of the connections I am making with other agencies!

For more information about The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mary Hitchcock, Intern at MedCentral Health System


Mary Hitchcock is an intern at MedCentral Health System: Mansfield Hospital. MedCentral Health System is the largest hospital system between Cleveland and Columbus. Mansfield Hospital contains 326 beds, is a Level II Trauma Center and has a Level II Perinatal Department. This health system serves 6 counties and their mission is to provide expert care to the people of North Central Ohio.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

While at my internship at MedCentral, I am working as a social worker on the fourth floor (Pediatrics). I help patients make discharge plans to make the transition process easier. I meet with patients that need care after leaving the hospital. I assist by setting up home health care, assisted living, and nursing home stays. Patients with other needs can ask for a consult with a social worker and we do whatever we can to make their stay and discharge go as smooth as possible.      

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in? 
 
On a daily basis I participate in discharge rounds. They consist of going around the floor and meeting with new patients or patients that have requested a visit and asking about what needs they have. I help do assessments and coordinate resources for patients during their stay at the hospital.  

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
 
Ashland University’s Social Work Program has prepared me for my internship by giving me a good base to build upon. I have a very good grasp on the core values of social work. The Social Work Program here at Ashland gives students several opportunities for field experience. While this is definitely the most intense field experience I have gone through so far, it is not the first and I have those previous experiences to draw from. The program also covers how to take effective notes, which has proven very helpful in the course of my social work experience.
 
What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?

So far I enjoy the fast pace of working in a hospital and facing new and complex issues every day. I am looking forward to many more enjoyable experiences as the internship continues.

For more information about MedCentral Health System, please visit their website.

For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Casey Kelley, Intern at Richland County Children Services


Casey Kelley is an intern at Richland County Children Services. This agency provides care and protection for children in need, and support and assistance for their families. They have a full-time staff of over 100 people, all dedicated to protecting the children of Richland County.



 
Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
 
Richland County Children Services (RCCS) works with both adults and children to ensure and promote the safety of the child and seeks to keep kids in a permanent setting. RCCS's main goal is to keep the child with the family; however, some circumstances call for RCCS to remove the child. If a child is removed from the home RCCS focuses on developing plans in hopes to reunite the child with the family. I am in the ongoing/kinship unit at Richland County Children Services. As of right now, I am working with all units within the agency to learn about their functions. After that, I will be primarily focused in the ongoing and kinship unit. My supervisor is Teresa Coll, who is the supervisor of the kinship unit.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?

Right now I am working with all units of the agency shadowing them on visits as well as helping with paperwork. I have shadowed home visits, hospital visits, jail visits and court hearings. I also assist other workers with typing up police reports and incident reports. Eventually, I will be getting my own cases. I am also involved in Core Training, which is a training that takes place in Columbus, OH, that anyone who works in the field of children services has to attend. This training is helping me gain valuable skills used daily in my internship.
  
How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared your for your internship?
Ashland University's Social Work Program has prepared me for my internship in many different aspects. This program has prepared me for what my clients will be like, and what the different circumstances will be like. I also have a good background on laws that govern what Children Services has to do. Another facet that this program has taught me is cultural competency, which is important because I work with a diverse group of clients. AU’s program has also taught me how to write good case notes, how to be a professional, and how to deal with clients. These have all been important in helping me excel in my internship.  

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
I have enjoyed the learning experience that I have already gained so far by having the opportunity to go out on case visits. I also enjoy the workers and my supervisors because they are so willing to help me and take the time to explain things to me. The environment of the agency is great, and everyone has been more than willing to assist me whenever needed and accept me as one of their own.

For more information about Richland County Children Services, click here. 
For more information about Ashland University's Social Work Program, click here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jennifer Lindsay, Experiencing Social Work Globally

AU Social Work Major, Jennifer Lindsay, traveled to South Africa this past summer, a trip which influenced her decision to become a social work major. While in South Africa, she was able to meet an alumna of the AU Social Work Program. She was astounded at the global impact Ashland University's social work program had and stated:

"I had the privilege of traveling to South Africa with Isaiah Project Mission Trips through Ashland University this past summer. For me, this was so much more than just a mission trip. Yes, I did get to grow in my faith and have some amazing spiritual experiences, but the trip was really eye-opening and life changing. I got to meet some amazing people in South Africa that have been through a lot of crazy life experiences. Some of these people have faced such hardships and loss, and it was really humbling to see how they have overcome those difficulties. Hearing their life stories was a big reason that I am pursuing a degree in Social Work here at AU. I got to meet Abby, who was an alumna of the Social Work program herself here at Ashland University, and she now lives in South Africa with her husband and children. It was so amazing to see how a degree at this university can prepare people for opportunities all over the world."

Jennifer Lindsay (middle) pictured with residents of South Africa

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Field Experience Internships Begin for Social Work Seniors

The spring semester has begun and, along with it, internships for each of our senior Social Work students!

This year, 15 students will work in organizations across three counties to apply the skills they've learned in class, gain new skills and experience, and serve various populations in Ashland, Richland and Wayne county communities.

Over the next 16 weeks, we'll highlight these students' experiences and accomplishments as they transition from students to young professionals in their internships.

For more information about Ashland University's Field Experience program, a list of partner agencies and more, check out our website.