Settling in, seeing results

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.

Since the last update I’ve been very busy during my time at COTS.  Starting last week, the Young Adult Program kicked off, which means I am now dealing more with clients.  My days are anything buy typical — there have been days where I have nothing specific to do and there are others where I don’t stop until I walk out the door for the day.  I am now starting to get my feet under me and don’t feel so overwhelmed by all the commotion happening around me.

I have started to work extensively with two young men living at COTS.  My goal was to help them obtain employment.  So I sat down with each of them individually talking with them about what they wanted to do and where they would like to work. I helped go over each of their resumes and assisted with filling out applications.  They had struggled in the past with answering certain questions on applications which ultimately lead them to giving up and not finishing, but each one finally made it through and put out many applications all over town.  I am happy to report that both now have full time jobs!

Three weeks ago my supervisor proposed an idea to see if I would be interested in taking on a new responsibility.  She asked to see if I would want to conduct the intake interviews for all prospective clients.  When any person wishes to enroll into COTS’ program they must first be interviewed and evaluated to see if they would be a good match. It also gives a good opportunity for the prospective client to learn what COTS is all about.

After this is done I ask a series of questions to get a more complete picture of the person: I ask about any criminal record, work history, debts, drug or alcohol use, and what they would hope to accomplish if they were living at COTS.  After this is completed I will meet with my supervisor to discuss my feelings and if I think they would be a good member of the COTS community.  It is very interesting to see the different paths people took that led them to being homeless.

There always seems to be something to be done when I’m there. When I’m not busy working with clients I have been asked to assemble a comprehensive list of all grants and scholarships that are available.  So far my list is short, I think I got most of the federal and state grants and a small list of the larger scholarships, but it is becoming more challenging to find ones that are not subject specific.  It is the eventual goal to use this list to help those who want to return to school who may not have been able to due to financial issues.

I feel that I am gaining a great deal through this internship. It is giving a practical use to the ideas and concepts that we discussed and class.  I am now able to make the connection between a behavior and motive.  I’m learning to delve deeper into a person—to understand not just what someone is doing but why they are doing it, and with the experience of this internship I am learning how to change that around.

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