Each year, through our partnerships with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and George Mason University (GMU), our Resident Services team gains valuable interns to work alongside them at our various properties. During this intensive program spanning two semesters, students like Adriana R. gain hands-on experience in the field working throughout Wesley Housing communities.
“This internship was all about gaining more exposure to groups, diverse populations, and crisis intervention,” Adriana shared.
Adriana, a VCU student working to complete her Master of Social Work, recently completed her field internship at Wexford Manor Apartments where eight of the 74 units are fully accessible for individuals with disabilities. Throughout her internship, she planned and executed programs and events, such as the Black History Month event for residents. In preparation for this event, she researched African American influences in freedom and civil rights and brought to life important figures and quotes by hanging laminated pictures from the ceiling of the Community Resource Center, transforming the space into a “walk-in” museum. Adriana was empowered by the event and felt that educating others on the understanding and embracing of different cultures was in alignment with “cultural competence”, a practice that is ingrained in the Social Workers Code of Ethics.
During her time at Wexford Manor, Adriana spent afternoons assisting with adult programming. From helping an older adult apply for Medicare during open access computer time, to executing programs such as Parenting Wisely, her wide array of experiences were critical to the program’s success and her professional development. In the evenings, she helped with the after-school program and served as the teen program coordinator. Although her 15 years of experience has primarily been with children and families, she enjoyed being outside of her comfort zone, learning new skills, and working with adults and teens at Wexford Manor.
An experience that stood out to Adriana was her role with adults with disabilities. Adriana knows sign language and had the opportunity to communicate with a hearing impaired resident; this was the first time she got to practice the language in an intimate situation. “It was such an amazing experience,” she shared. “The resident was so sweet and encouraging and kept telling me I was doing a good job.”
Experiences like these are invaluable to students. Both Wesley Housing and its residents alike are grateful for the partnerships with local universities that allow students the opportunity to grow and learn in an atmosphere where they can truly make a difference.