It is with a heavy but full heart that my time at the St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House comes to a close. Nine weeks at this agency allowed me to dip my toes into the important work that the Renewal House does and get comfortable with the daily operations of the office. Nine weeks permitted me to make necessary and discernable change in the community. All the same, much more time must be dedicated to the activism and awareness surrounding the matter of sexual assault and domestic violence. My placement for SLU PIC was a rewarding and eye-opening experience, which introduced me to a deeper passion for awareness and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence. A love for non-profit work in our small community has blossomed within me, and I thoroughly enjoy empowering survivors. The incredible Advocates Program, The Dub, as well as the NYS Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalition will be organizations I plan to work closely with as I begin my junior year. Before the Renewal House, I knew that I wanted to work in advocacy, and now more than ever, I know I need to make a difference.
The Renewal House will always hold a special place in my heart. Under the wing of 14 incredible advocates, I not only learned the job and the roles I was to fill, but I learned immense people skills, how to be a leader, and how to be an essential piece of an active team. I maintained great relationships with supervisors, coworkers, and clients, which gave me the ability to feel much more confident in being a professional and a friendly presence. I learned how to be flexible because it wasn’t always clear what could happen at any moment of any day. I learned how to be independent in my duties such as intakes and phone calls, which boosted my self-assurance in my abilities around the office. As I’ve explored in previous blogs, violence and assault do not discriminate, so I worked with a vast array of individuals all over St. Lawrence county, which challenged my North Country, NY stereotypes and ideas of the typical Canton citizen. In addition to learning new interpersonal skills at Renewal House, I also learned all about careful documentation and the importance of paperwork, scheduling, and taking notes. I believe I have improved in my attention to detail and refined my skills for the more tedious parts of work because of this. I have gained an appreciation for each and every member of a team, and I know much better where I fit into a group. My internship at Renewal House was not just an experience, but a valuable lesson and a lifetime connection.
I will definitely miss my time at Renewal House, and I am so thankful for what I have gained and accomplished here. I firmly believe that this internship solidified and assisted in furthering my professional goals for the future, and gave me a clear sense of what I feel I am meant to do. I expanded my SLU vision into the community and feel much more connected to Canton and the rest of the North Country. This connection feels strong, vital, and valuable, and I encourage everyone to connect to the community outside of SLU because it gifts you a great understanding of where we live and paints a great image of our very own privilege and positionality in society. I am so grateful for this internship in many ways, not to mention the chance to experience a St. Lawrence summer. As my time ends, I feel very prepared for the future and what I will involve myself in and what I will chase. I couldn’t have been happier with this incredible experience.
My legacy at the Renewal House is my summer research on creating a sexual assault support and empowerment group. I worked hard at creating a strong and cohesive curriculum for the agency to gain a strong leg up on formulating their official group model. This way, they will be able to better serve their clients and can expand their services. I was so thrilled to complete this project and dedicated my summer to crafting the resources and my presentation. I am ecstatic with how my research turned out and am overcome with joy at the approval of my curriculum from my supervisors. This internship afforded me so many opportunities, and I happily report that I got so much out of it as I exchanged the same effort. All of my goals were met, and my expectations were shattered. I hope to see my sexual assault support group methods put into practice at Renewal House one day, and I hope to continue working towards similar goals in my professional future.