|Bethanee Burden, Social Work senior and intern at Ashley's|
Place, with her field supervisor, Amy Burk-Salyers.
Ashley’s Place, named after a victim of sexual abuse in Sumner County, is a Child Advocacy Center near Nashville, Tennessee, which provides a safe place for children who have been sexually abused to receive help in dealing with the abuse. The center also provides help for the child’s family in dealing with what has happened to their child.
Ashley's Place exists to provide multiple services to children and their families who have been victims of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and witnesses to violent crimes. Child abuse has a devastating effect on the emotional and psychological well-being of a child. Appropriate intervention is crucial for these young victims to grow into emotionally healthy adolescents and adults, which Ashley’s Place provides.
What are your job duties at your internship? What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
I have loved interning at Ashley’s Place thus far and have several duties that have prepared me well beyond my expectations. I have been involved in working alongside victims and their families, law enforcement, the department of children services, child protective services, district attorneys, forensic interviewers, as well as our trauma focused therapist.
Ashley’s Place conducts the initial interview with children in a friendly environment to determine if the child has been a victim of severe physical or sexual abuse. Our double sided mirror has allowed me to watch all of these interviews alongside law enforcement and children services. My internship has allowed me to work with families and victims below the careful eye of my supervisor, Amy Burke (executive director), as well as other professionals. I have been able to attend court as an advocate on behalf of victims of sexual abuse; I am serving on the foster care review board, as well as getting involved with DCS, parenting groups, and therapy sessions.
By engaging in therapy, I am learning Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and talking with children and teenage girls about past experiences alongside our amazing therapist the center offers to all victims. I am also participating in macro events such as working at a community 5K event informing the community on what Ashley’s Place does. We have also been to high schools discussing an ‘I Never Thought It Was Rape’ talk.
How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared your for your internship?
Ashland University’s Social Work program has prepared me for this internship in so many ways. The various classes I have taken and past volunteer work I have done through the program has come to life in my internship. I am living what I learned in class and am able to draw back on what I have learned in my program and apply it to my internship. I would not be here today in Nashville, Tennessee, with this wonderful experience if it weren’t for my Social Work professors who have worked so hard with me to get me here.
What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
The most enjoyable part of my internship so far would be the relationships and confidence I have gotten out of it. I know that I have been more than prepared and trained in all competencies to start my career in this profession when I graduate and I have Ashland University to thank for this.
For more information about Ashley's Place, visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University's Department of Social Work and Family Studies, click here.