Social Work Intern: Learning While Helping

“Hi, my name is Kristen Potter and I am so excited to be part of the team at Hopeworks!  I am currently pursuing my Masters in Social Work at Rutgers Camden and am doing a one year internship working with Camden youth. I am originally from Connecticut, where I received my bachelors degree in International Affairs, and spent almost 14 years serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.

As a social work intern, I meet with youth as they start at Hopeworks to assist them in creating a safety plan and identify coping techniques that can help them handle overwhelming emotions in a safe and productive way.   We meet for periodic follow ups to see how effective their strategies are, discuss stressful triggers in life, and reevaluate their plan to maximize success. Youth benefit from proactive self-care methods and work towards managing their emotions early so that they can manage escalating emotions .  I also discuss with the youth the situations and barriers in their lives that may be blocking their desired outcomes and help them work towards solutions.  We discuss their histories and explore how the past can affect resiliency and future growth.  My role is to help connect them to resources and empower them to reach their goals.

I am passionate about serving the community in Camden, and am honored to be a part of this incredible organization that develops the future leaders of Camden in such an impactful way.  I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in my future profession and to give back to the community in a powerful way.”

Kristen Potter is one of two social work interns placed at Hopeworks.  They are both working with our youth to deepen our trauma informed practices and help our young people explore ways that they can use Sanctuary tools in their daily lives, beyond just at work.  To read more about Hopeworks and the Sanctuary model, check out this report recently published by the Rutgers Center for Urban Research and Education.  For media coverage on the amazing work of our Youth Healing Team, check out the article in South Jersey Magazine.