Ready for the Challenge -First Human Services Internship

Michael Harvey is an online Human Services Leadership student half way through his junior year. Originally from Appleton Wis., he moved around the country after two years of college as a way to help him determine what he wanted to do with his life. Those experiences lead him to want to help those less fortunate, which is why he chose to major in human services leadership.

Harvey is enrolled in the online degree program, and is managing school, a family, working full time and now his initial human services internship. Follow along as he shares his experience throughout his internship.

The prospect of being an intern was exciting and daunting at the same time. Being an online student means that I had to find my own place to intern, which seems like it would be hard but there are many resources available. The online resources provided gave a good direction. I also utilized my counselor and Annette Laurie, field placement director for the human services leadership program. One of the best things that I did to come up with potential places to intern was to call my local United Way office, which gave me a list of organizations to contact in my area.

After making phone calls I got through to a local organization called COTS Inc., a homeless shelter located in Appleton, Wis. Not only do they provide a place to live for up to two years, they also provide meals, classes, and support to help the residents become more functional and independent. I was invited to come in for an interview and to meet the staff and then was asked to come back in to shadow one of the case managers to see if I was interested.

I really enjoyed the staff and residence and am really looking forward to my internship.  It will be a lot of work, but it will be worth it. During my internship a new program called the Young Adults Program will be starting. It’s designed to help those who are just coming out of the foster care system. I will be helping those enrolled in the program set and achieve their goals while providing a stable environment.

There are a number of things that I want to learn at my time at COTS.  I would like to focus on how to develop and implement a new program, like the Young Adults Program.  I want to understand the process that the residents go through from the time that they enter COTS to the time they leave. Most of all, I want to get to know the people and learn from their experiences —from that I will have a better understanding of how to help others who may be facing similar issues.

After being in contact with the person who I will be working under, I developed my work contract. It reaffirmed just how much is going to be involved, but I’m excited for the challenge. For now, I’m just going to try to enjoy my last few days before the semester starts!

1 Response to “Ready for the Challenge -First Human Services Internship”

  • Michael,

    I am so impressed with your initiative. The life experiences gained through your travel are an incredible asset. I am sure you learned much about yourself and about what you want to accomplish in your career.

    Your goals are clear, and you are well on your way to acheiving them. The HS field is fortuante to have you.

    As an aside, the young adut initiative is so needed and also somewhat rare. Years ago I worked in an intensive home training program. The biggest gap was high school seniors turning 18. Many of them felt like they would be “Cut off” and, without further resources, worried about what would be next. They mentioned practical dilemmas such as reading a lease, managing a checkbook etc. I am delighted to hear that COTS is addressing this need.

    This is a win/win for you, the organization and the community.

    Best wishes and thanks for the post.

    Annette Larie

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