When I began my field experience at IVSHA, a big part of the nervousness that came along with it was the unfamiliarity of it all. My journey up to this point began a little over two years ago. I knew when I made the decision to pursue my education that I wanted my life’s work to be helping people, with the focus of that work to be on children and their families. When I contacted IVSHA about the opportunity to complete my Internship hours with them, I spoke with Marcy Sowa. I realized this may not have been the ideal place I had in mind, but I was impressed with the conversation that Marcy and I had and I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Before this experience began, I had very little understanding of the issues that go along with being in a DV/SA/S situation. Much of my time was spent learning about domestic violence, I don’t think I would have come to appreciate the hard work that goes into helping survivors day in and day out if it had been any other way. I thought how could I even begin to understand how to help survivors in these situations if I do not have an understanding of the issues? This is emotionally taxing work and it is not for everyone, no matter how genuine the intentions may be. There were times when I broke down crying in the bathroom because of an article I just read on a survivor’s story or an online workshop that I just completed. I would go home and think to myself, I don’t know if I can do this and I don’t know if I really want to do this. Learning coping skills has helped me to navigate those emotional times and the staff: Marcy, Chris, Susie, Heather, Ashly, and Pamela have all made my experience better than I could have hoped for. Along with in house training, I was able to attend several outside training opportunities that shared a common interest in the work that IVSHA does and also participated in empowerment groups for survivors. Fast forward fifteen weeks from the beginning of my internship and into the final week. I have gained a wealth of information on the issues of DV/SA/S and I have also come to admire and appreciate the staff even more for coming back every day, no matter how tough it can get, in order to be able to help another survivor find safety. I have had the opportunity to have limited direct contact with survivors and was able to participate in a DV council meeting, which I found very interesting. I understand, more so than when this experience began, that there is such a need for DV/SA/S services in this community and the importance of the work that IVSHA does is an integral part of it. There is a personal fulfillment that comes along with this experience, I came and did my best no matter what the task was and tried to absorb all that I could. Even though IVSHA may not have been the ideal placement for my internship, during these last few days here, it’s hard for me to imagine being anywhere else. I thoroughly enjoyed everything this experience has taught me.
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