Friday — August 20, 2021

My Intern Experience

by: Lily Clarke

Today is the last day of my internship at the Cahuilla Consortium Victim Advocacy Program (CCVAP). It has been a wonderful experience, and thinking of its ending saddens me. I have learned a lot in these short six weeks. I never thought I was the kind of person that would enjoy office work, but as weird as it sounds, it has been fun. Samantha, the Program Director, showed me some of the grants she wrote for the program, and it blew me away. So much work goes into getting a grant; it is quite confusing, but I think I am getting the hang of it. Early on, it became apparent that an organized and clean office is the key to a smoothly running office. Speaking of organization, these last few weeks have forced my organizational skills to improve. I have learned how to use Microsoft Word and Excel, which will be a beneficial skill in future jobs. The number one thing that I have learned is that being in this field requires lots of patience.

I have attended a few meetings/forums over Zoom. It is refreshing to hear people engage in dialogue about intergenerational trauma and how it is continuing to affect Indigenous Peoples. It is a rough topic that people run from but talking about it is necessary. 

In watching my co-workers engage with their clients, I realized that you have to be strong, patient, forgiving, and honest to do the work they do. My favorite part of this experience is the people. The office manager, Patricia, is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Brittany and Jamie, two of the advocates, are some of the authentic people I have met. Terri, another advocate, cares for every one of her clients so profoundly. Whitney, the newest member of the team and my cousin, is always willing to help. 

I will always be grateful to Samantha, my boss, for pushing me to sign up for this internship. Everyone here is so gracious and giving. Seeing the work that CCVAP is doing has made me curious about becoming an advocate. Who knows, I might return in a few years. Lastly, I want to give a big Thank You to the staff for making me feel so welcomed. I am so glad I decided to do this.