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  • Becca W.

Meet Sierra!

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

What school/program are you in?

I am in my last semester of my undergraduate at Augsburg University. I am in the Bachelor of Social Work program.

What interested you in interning at Sojourner?

I wanted to be at a place that was out of my comfort zone and would challenge me. Although I haven’t had experience working in domestic violence shelters, I do have experience with the topic of domestic violence. I wanted to learn more about domestic violence and what I can do to help those experiencing it. I also wanted to be a part of educating the public and others about domestic violence. There is still a stigma towards domestic violence and that, in a way, silences people from talking about it or seeking help. No one should feel like they need to suffer in silence.

What background/experience do you bring with you to the role?

Last year I interned at Restorative Justice Community Action, working with youth and young adults in the criminal justice system. Restorative justice is an alternative for low level or felony offenders instead of going through the court system. During my internship, I facilitated youth conferences that brought the youth and community together to focus on repairing the harm instead of punishing the youth. Before that, I volunteered at Episcopal Church Homes working with those in assisted living.

What have you enjoyed or learned so far at Sojourner? Any particular experiences or stories stand out?

After being here, I’ve learned that working with women experiencing domestic violence is a passion of mine and is something I want to continue. It has been a privilege to work with such amazing and knowledgeable staff. During my internship, I was able to go with an advocate to help a resident retrieve some of her belongings that were at her abuser’s home. As a safety precaution, we had the local police department escort us throughout the process. Going back to an abuser’s house can be a dangerous situation for many different reasons, so it's important to have the help of the local police departments. It was nice to have this experience as this is something people might not think about.

Even though all residents are here due to domestic violence, they all have different experiences and have very different needs. I feel Sojourner works hard to help each resident achieve their goals.

How do you hope to use this experience in the future?

Shelter advocates work with residents to create a goal and safety plan that is catered to their individual needs. This is to ensure residents are successful in and outside of the shelter. I plan to use this in my work in the future. Goal and Safety Plans are vital when working with all clients even if they haven’t experienced domestic violence. Sojourner has prepared me well for advocacy. Advocating for those who don’t have a voice or are too scared to speak up is something I will do throughout my career as a social worker.

Want to learn more about interning at Sojourner? Visit our Get Involved page!


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