Company/Organization: Center For Hope and Safety (previously Shelter Our
Topic of Internship
Center For Hope and Safety, previously Shelter Our Sisters, is a nonprofit organization that aims “to assist women and children who are victims of domestic violence, including emotional, economic, sexual and physical abuse. The agency provides emergency and transitional housing, emotional support, and a diversified continuum of services focused on safety, empowerment, and self-sufficiency” (taken from hopeandsafetynj.org website). Founded in 1976, then, Shelter Our Sisters was one of the first domestic violence shelters in New Jersey and it is currently the only shelter in Bergen County. The name was recently changed from Shelter Our Sisters to Center For Hope And Safety to emphasis the expansion the organization has done over the past years to cover more aspects of assistance than just sheltering. Services range from counseling, children’s programs, legal assistance, group therapy, transitional housing, self-sufficiency programs, art therapy, a 24-hour hotline, and much more. As stated in their online mission statement, “Additionally, the agency aims to reduce related social problems, such as child abuse, sexual assault, substance abuse, sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression. …Through community partnerships, Center for Hope and Safety raises awareness, provides services, and educates community members about domestic violence.”
Summary of Internship
Within the first weeks of my internship, I participated the 40-hour training program held for volunteers looking to begin their work with the organization. Through this course, I learned so much about the reality of a domestic violence relationship, the ways that it affects the victim, and the best ways to assist a battered woman. Not only was this incredibly informative, it was so important as it demonstrates why any form of assistance to the organization makes an enormous difference in how much help can be given to the clients. Interning at Center Hope and Safety can mean numerous things on any given day. As an intern, I have done a variety of tasks for helping with community outreach, partaking in the organization and carry out of volunteer programs as well as group art therapy, working with essential programs for the organizations funding, and much more. The tasks of the day usually depend on whatever the biggest need is at the moment for the organization’s volunteers, clients, and/or operation. This internship has certainly taught me to be more flexible and versatile in my abilities, has given me a greater look into countless different aspects of how an organization like this works, and has taught me about an issue that, though is seldom discussed as a social problem, truly needs to be fought against. It certainly has been a rewarding experience at Center For Hope and Safety and is much recommended for anyone who is willing to dig in and be dedicated to the experience.
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