At Thrive DC we offer internship opportunities that vary from social service focused to development focused. Meet Tanya, our social service intern who has been with us since January. She had a lot to share about her time at Thrive DC!
I was born and raised in Washington, DC. In High School, I worked for the Mayor's Summer Youth Program and during my senior year, I participated in their work study program where I was placed at the Library of Congress. For the last 29 year, I have worked there and have been a part of monumental changes throughout the organization. In 2016, I decided to pursue a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Trinity University. Feeling that it was not the right fit for me, I talked with my mentor who encouraged me to look into obtaining a Master's degree in Clinical Social Work instead. In 2018, I applied and was accepted into Tulane University's School of Social Work. I will be graduating this December with a Master in Social Work (MSW) degree and a certificate in Mental Health, Addiction, and the Family. My long-term goal is to open a private practice where I will specialize in couples and family counseling.
One of the requirements of the MSW program is to complete a practicum in addition to the coursework. The first year, I was a caseworker with individual clients, so I got a very micro-level experience in social work. When I started looking for an opportunity my second year, I wanted something more macro-level in order to get a more rounded experience and Thrive DC has been a great fit.
When I started, I worked at the front desk. I was trained in how to write referrals, sort and distribute mail to clients, monitor the computer lab, and distribute in-kind donations. I also worked on administrative tasks for the culinary and retention staff. When the pandemic began, I started working closely with our re-entry manager, Kimberly Gray, and helped her launch a program at Thrive DC called the Gold Standard Business Network (GSBN). We created GSBN to offer clients who are returning citizens a network of businesses in the DC area who are committed to helping them rejoin the workforce after incarceration. GSBN is a powerful resource that provides employment opportunities to reentry citizens so they can successfully reintegrate back into their communities. In addition, I am working on a financial literacy program tailored to reentry adults as well as those experiencing homelessness.
I would have to say that helping the kitchen staff serve breakfast has been my favorite part of working at Thrive DC so far. First thing in the morning, I got to meet and talk with clients who not only desired a hot meal but also human interaction. It is so important to remember that everyday so many people walk by our clients and do not see them as anything beyond their circumstance. There is so much stigma and negativity surrounding those experiencing homelessness and at Thrive DC they have a safe space to connect with other people and receive vital resources. Although I will be finishing up at Thrive DC soon, I will forever be grateful for the staff and clients who enriched my journey.