Highs and lows

Michael HarveyMichael Harvey is an online Human Services Leadership student in his final semester. 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. Follow along as he shares his experience throughout his final internship.

The games have begun and it has been a very exciting start.  I have started seeing clients at COTS homeless shelter, working as a men’s case manager. Going forward I am thankful that I am back with this organization.  I know that the experience I am getting here is the best I could have asked for.  When coming back, it was like I was on vacation after all my hellos were said they handed me my files and I hit the ground running.

I meet with each of my clients weekly to discuss goals, a budget, refer to outside services or anything else.  I also have been involved with doing intake assessments for perspective residents at COTS.  I even had the chance to sit in on a strategy meeting.  This meeting is held once every few years where all board members and all staff at COTS get together and plan how they want to move the organization forward. From what I have seen they have some very big ideas.  I was very happy to be able to be a part of that, even if it was just as a fly on the wall.

Even though I am just in the beginning of the internship, I have already begun to see the joys of success and the crushing realities of addiction.

Because I was here for my intermediate internship, I actually knew some of the residence who happens to still be living here when I arrived back.  I was able to see the metamorphosis that took place in my absence.  One gentleman in particular stands out as someone who was in pretty rough shape when he arrived shortly before the end of my prior internship.  After seeing him again a few weeks ago, he was a whole new person.  He has found permanent employment, was able to take care of all his legal issues, he is stable in his recovery from alcohol and is now looking into an apartment.

Sadly, not every resident who comes to COTS is able to pick up the pieces.  In my short time here we have had a number of residence relapse.  The saddest example was one who had finally reached sobriety after years of battling a heroin addiction.  He was able to hold a job which was his first in a very long time.  I went with him to drug court where he would proudly announce that he was clean and sober.  Then, suddenly, he vanished. He left what belongings he had in his room, was a no show at work and now has a warrant for his arrest because he didn’t show for his probation meeting.

I don’t know what may be around the corner for me. I do know that after leaving here I will be ready for whatever challenge comes my way.  For now I will bide my time, keeping my eyes and my ears open, paying close attention to those who have done this before.  I want to learn what I can from every client personal experience in hopes that maybe I can use what they did during a hardship to help guide others away from hardships.

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