This summer we were very lucky to have five amazing college and high school student interns working on AWARE®. We asked one of our interns, Amanda, to share her thoughts on her experience at the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (the organization that runs AWARE®).
My decision to become an intern at JCADA was the result of a very common search process. I typed in, “non profits in Rockville, Maryland” on Google and a list appeared. There are two main factors that drew me to this organization.
First, I am very interested in pressing issues. As I am writing this I find it hard to put into words what the drive is behind my desire to help people. I wanted an experience, not just something to pass the time. This seemed out of the norm. It broke me out of my daily routine.
My next reason is something that I haven’t spoken much about before. As a born and raised Christian girl, I grapple with my understandings of God, religion, and what I truly believe. I’ve been nervous to break free from the mold of what I’ve been taught. The fact that it is the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse did play a role in my choice. I don’t know much about the Jewish faith, although I have had Jewish friends throughout my life. In a way, taking this internship meant I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. The internship helped me become more comfortable with saying to myself, “It’s great to experience something new. It’s important to question your faith and draw from other sources on your search for what you as an individual believe in.” I’ve always been one to be honest with myself.
Both of these reasons led me to make an excellent choice this summer. I emailed JCADA and after a few weeks found out I would be a summer intern. My experience as a JCADA intern has not only been rewarding, but educational in a way that I doubt I could have attained sitting in a class. I developed a whole new array of skills. I improved my writing, my ability to make judgment calls, my discipline to get work done and my professionalism. What is more, I really felt as though I was doing something for the greater good. Even though I did not work directly with clients, my efforts were beneficial to the organization that is providing support and education to the community.
During this experience I have had the chance to learn from and interact with the work I was doing. Many a time I have asked questions about dating violence to Leah (my supervisor) as I worked on the It’s Not Love workshop materials.
“But, can you suggest that you think breaking up with their partner would be the best decision?”
“How do parents figure out if their child is going to break up with an abusive partner if they’re not supposed to mention that they think that would be the best course of action?”
These are just a couple of my inquiries. And, the best part about my experience is that I have learned so much about this issue in case I ever need this information down the road in my life. I am a much more informed person.
JCADA was an absolute blessing in my life. I will always remember my experience and I encourage anyone reading this to get involved with this issue in whatever way, no matter how small. Being informed will better prepare you as you enter into new relationships of your own, or as you watch those around you.
~ Amanda Grolig, Summer 2013 High School Intern