I’m not sure writing only one blog entry about my experience during this internship will quite do it justice, but I’m going to try! My idea of what I thought the internship was going to be like and what it was actually like was definitely a bit off. It was challenging in all the right ways but also incredibly insightful. I couldn’t have asked this internship to go any better than it did.
I envisioned the internship would entail busy work more than anything so I was completely taken aback when I showed up for the first day of work and realized it was definitely the opposite. I was anxious about the internship weeks before I left and I wasn’t sure if it was a good or bad feeling; but I knew I had to get there to find out for myself. However, I did talk to a former Washington All-Star at a College Success Foundation conference that I attended a few months prior to the day I found out I was selected for one of the All-Star positions. He talked about his experience so he was able to give me some insight on what the seven weeks might be like. He mentioned that he could talk about his FosterClub experience all day but in the end I was going to have to live it myself to fully understand that each person would have their own unique experience. Once I was selected, I would refer back to that day because it was calming to know that I wasn’t alone in terms of just feeling confused but excited all at the same time.
Ultimately, I went into my internship with little knowledge about the journey that laid ahead. I will always remember my first night with the 11 other All-Stars in our 2 bedroom/2 bathroom duplex. We played name games and just did our best to open up to one another to ensure an awesome start with FosterClub. I was impressed by everyone’s personalities and their drive right away and I feel so blessed to personally know each one of them.
I can’t really describe the next day at work with any other word than “intense”. They were ready to start our training period right off the bat which went on for a couple weeks. It may have been some of the most exhausting couple of weeks in my life but definitely some of the most rewarding. I’ll give you a little insight to our training: They trained us to professionally give youth in care and former foster youth the tools they need to navigate the foster care system in a way that is most beneficial to them. Personally, I was never aware of my rights as a young youth in care, so I could have absolutely benefitted from knowing FosterClub at the time as well. If I would have known I had the right to attend my court hearings, I would have. If I would have known I had the right to obtain my case plan, I would have. So if I can guide and help current youth in care to have a decent understanding of their rights while in care, I will do that! And I have FosterClub to thank for the opportunities I received to make these kinds of connections and changes in our community.
Now, as this internship comes to an end, I can definitely say there’s a bitter sweeting feeling that tugs at my heart. I’m excited to get back home to my friends and family, but I just know how much I’m going to miss the amazing people I’ve met here at FosterClub in beautiful Seaside, Oregon. But it also warms my heart to know that it’s not the last time I will be hearing from them or vice versa. My internship may be ending but the connections I’ve made and the advocacy work I’ve begun will continue to grow.
Thank you all for reading!