Coming Soon to a City Near You

Coming Soon to a City Near You

Now for the reason I'm here:


The Internship

Sounds like a bad action rom com in the making, doesn't it?

{Deep theatrical voice}

In a world, where people roam the streets with no food, shelter, or basic human rights. A world where a hero is needed to save these people from a heartless society and restore their life with a new pathway to success: Carpenters Shelter in Alexandria, Virginia does just that. From over 1,000 volunteers, 20 employees, and one superb intern they are one step closer to making the D.C area homeless free.

 

I am the education and employment intern, who focuses on, well, the education and employment of clients residing in the shelter. I focus on each clients individual problems, and assist them with getting into programs to help their case. We provide GED courses, computer classes, meals, shelter, job coaching, employment panes, job fairs, and weekly meetings to make sure they are on the right path to proper housing. I am currently in the process of creating a fitness group for my clients, to later participate in a 5K! Now, this is the point where people may think, "Wait, these people are using my hard earned money to live and have no responsibilities whatsoever??'

 

No, they are introduced to the 30-60-90 day program, where each month we assess their living situation based on if they have gotten a job, and if they have a new income. They make weekly deposits until they have enough saved to put a down payment and first months rent into new housing, and the shelter (through various donations and grants) can help out if they are close or near their goal. Our clients are also able to use several learning classes of various subjects due to the courtesy and kindness of surrounding businesses. It is amazing how a small community can help so many through some volunteering and donations here or there. From free excel classes, job fairs, and library donations, people can finish their high school degrees, and even earn a scholarship and class credit towards an associate degree with our partnered college.

 

 

A lot of our clients are either single men or are mothers with children of 4 or more, so the income need to support that many children is quite difficult in todays day and age. Even with 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs, it would be impossible to afford housing near their jobs or the shelter. Now, I may be preaching to an empty room, as I am a social work major with a heavy interest and heart in the homeless population. But it is an issue that needs to be addressed and fixed. I will try and update with some clients with their permission, and re-introduce them to you as people with heartbreaking and motivational stories rather than the people you may walk fast by while avoiding eye contact. Each person who is homeless has a story, a reason for being there, and it is usually not the reason you would think. Having an open mind in this industry makes it rewarding, but also troubling when a client doesn't reach their goal and falls back into their routine. This may not have been a fun and quirky update, but rather an insight on what I do day to day and how I feel about the subject.


 

Meet : Sharon Addison


Sharon Addison

She works at Davids Place, which is connected to Carpenters Shelter but deals with clients in a different way.

 

"Most of the people that come here have a mental illness of some sort, that had caused problems in their daily life in some way. For example, we have a lot of schizophrenic homeless men who wander into our place, that deal with their illness by drinking. Their addictions stem off from the mental illness, and their life spirals downward. So when people think of the homeless as people who are never sober or willing to get their life together, they're right, but not for the same reason. Because of their neglecting of their health,

they aren't able to afford the medication or therapy needed for their situation, leaving only so many options to cope with.

It is very troubling to see. When asked about the trials of working here, Sharon responded with, "It's a very hard job, because a lot of people don't want the help, or don't think they need it. We have people who used to BE somebody, some in the government, some with PHD's, you name it. Something in their life went wrong, but they still feel entitled to their old way of living. Being able to help them and be there for them is so rewarding. Whether it's giving them food for the day, doing their laundry, or being someone they can talk to,

I get the feeling of satisfaction that I helped someone today. Everyday."

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More