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This is a guest post by Nicole Francis, former intern at the Council on Domestic Abuse, Inc. (CODA) in Terre Haute. She is a psychology student at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

The goal of an internship at CODA is to gain a greater understanding of the field of social services by working to empower survivors of domestic violence.  After the intern successfully completes the training program, interns begin to work at the emergency shelter, transitional housing or the CODA courthouse office.

Some of the things that I did during my internship experience include: talking to the residents, listening and letting residents voice their concerns to me. I was not confined to one area because there are several cordless phones in the house, which allowed me to move about the residence and be prepared for any calls at the same time.  Interns were able to work in the donation room, linen closet, or talk with the women on the porch.

I spent a lot of time practicing using the referral information available in the office and reviewing old crisis call logs to prepare myself. If I had the opportunity and permission to, I would play with the children staying in the shelter. Initiating healthy activities with them is highly encouraged (coloring, crafts, games, etc.).

Sometimes I would just relax with the residents and watch a movie or do their hair, etc. When asked, I would help the women develop their professional skills (help fill out a résumé, application, prepare for an interview, etc.). If needed, I would put together intake packets, information packets, resupply log books and blank forms. There are always things that need to be done and usually a resident who needs a kind ear.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having an internship with an organization like CODA. I learned a lot of valuable information about the organization, domestic violence, sexual assault, crisis intervention and about myself. All of this knowledge and experience will be applicable to almost any of my future endeavors in the field of psychology.

Not only that, but the experience was also reassuring.  I am more confident in my abilities and have developed professional and networking skills through this process. I am eager to apply this knowledge to future career opportunities!

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