December 13, 2017
Community Impact Intern
Every Student, Every Day initiative:
When I first started as an intern for United Way’s Every Student, Every Day, I felt eager to delve into the work, but also nervous, wondering how much I could really do on my own. How would I be able to start talking to the kids and families without making them uncomfortable, and help them progress?
I may still be learning and growing in my new role as a social work intern, but I do know one thing for sure: working with these kids is my favorite part of the day. I truly enjoy every minute I spend with them—their way of trying to solve the problem, their innocent talk, and their loving approach to me.
When the students see me walking on campus and ask, “When are you going to see me?” I realize that I’m helping by connecting them and their families to resources and the support they need, such as school supplies and tutoring services. I’ve begun to feel a strong connection with them, especially given that many of their challenges are issues I have also experienced. Some students miss school because their single parent must work and s/he doesn’t have anyone to pick the kids up from school. One 11-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother has been chronically absent because he has a hard time doing homework by himself and didn’t have anyone to help him with his homework. I found him a free tutoring service along with the school supplies he needed. Now, his attendance is improving.
The school’s diversity and its warm, happy environment is another positive aspect of my internship. At times language can be a barrier; I don’t speak Spanish, but I can use cultural competency because I’ve lived in different countries. When the students tell me, “I came to school today because I knew you would check on me,” I definitely know they are my motivation and my encouragement. I’m looking forward to making a difference in their lives and seeing them progress!
Every Student, Every Day Interns partner with students and families, and schools to reduce chronic absenteeism by working with students and families to identify and eliminate the barriers that prevent them from being at school, every day, ready to learn. Learn more: Early Grade Literacy