What school do you go to and what program are you in? I am a graduate Master’s of Social Work student at Augsburg University.
What interested you about interning at Sojourner? In my search for placement, I was looking for a dynamic learning experience working with a population which is close to my heart. Sojourner’s intern role offers just that! Although this is my first experience working with victims of domestic violence, I have always wanted to expand my experience in this field. I was especially drawn to the opportunities to co-facilitate support groups for community members, gaining knowledge and skills in legal advocacy, and adding prevention education to my educator toolbox.
What other background/experience do you bring with you to Sojourner?
In 2015 I graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I began my professional career in 2012 working with adults with disabilities in their homes as a Direct Support Professional. I continued working in this field for around 7 years also as a group home House Manager and later as a Service Coordinator. During my time working with this population, I learned what it means to be a mandated reporter of abuse and an advocate for vulnerable populations. I also have a background in Special Education working as an education assistant with middle and high school aged students with emotional behavioral disorders and/or on the autism spectrum. During my time as an Education Assistant, I became passionate about prevention education for adolescents. The nature of Special Education allowed for the children I was working with to get lessons on healthy relationships, consent, and the multifaceted issues of sexuality and gender. The students seemed to crave this knowledge and get a lot out of it. Prior to interning at Sojourner, I was an Administrative Assistant at a Montessori school for children aged 16 months to 6 years old. All of these experiences have led me to continue to pursue a career working with diverse clients/ families with complex situations and needs.
What has been most interesting about interning here thus far?
There are things I like about both the Community Education and Legal Advocacy programs at Sojourner. So far I’ve enjoyed observing the comprehensive SafeU lessons with our partner schools. Becca and Laura have done an amazing job putting these together and it shows with the level of engagement I’ve seen with these students. I have also enjoyed being included in the creative process of designing social media posts for Sojourner’s Facebook and Instagram pages. I have learned so much about the impact of messages and how they can raise awareness and increase community involvement and the well-being of our clients.
While working with the Legal Advocacy team, I have learned how domestic violence cases play out “behind the scenes” through working with clients receiving individual legal advocacy support and/or who attend the support group. I’ve found it fascinating to learn more about the criminal justice system and how to advocate for victims from this standpoint. In addition, the group setting has felt like such a privilege, especially during the pandemic. I treasure the (socially distanced) interactions I get to have with clients and the other co-facilitators in person. The support the group participants provide each other is truly amazing and I’m so happy to be able to get practice while being a part of the collective!
How do you hope to use this experience moving forward in your career?
Going forward I hope to use all I learn from this experience to continue to raise awareness about DV and sexual assault and advocate for the protection of victims. I hope my upgraded knowledge of the criminal justice system will equip me with insight which will be helpful for working with clients who interact with the courts and/or jails and prisons. I also hope to take away knowledge of healthy relationships and consent and skills in safety planning when working with diverse clients. I feel like these are two areas where my experience could help people in a multitude of situations. The reality is that DV is unfortunately very common and will most likely impact many of my future clients, regardless of the setting or context I will see them in.
Throughout her time with Sojourner, Kaylin will continue to guest blog. Check back each month for new learnings, behind the scenes insights, and to follow her journey with us. We're glad she's with us!