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Columbia University BGCHarlem MSW Internship Program Success

Our Columbia University BGCHarlem MSW Internship Program for 2019-2020 was a success! Participants were able to learn a wealth of information about social work and themselves through their work with BGCHarlem.

These interns are typically first-year graduate students in the School of Social Work at Columbia University, and we want to applaud them for all of their accomplishments this year.

In this internship program, BGCHarlem provided:

In-School Daytime and After School Programming Support

  • Provide social-emotional support to individual students as assigned by an on-site supervisor

  • Support parents with identifying and accessing community resources

  • Lead BGCHarlem curriculum groups, i.e., Smart Girls, Blueprint, etc. (schedule allowing)

  • Support for acute at-risk needs, i.e., student conflict resolution

  • Work collaboratively with P.S. 241 staff to enhance school culture

  • Support for after school staff and activities

  • Work collaboratively with BGCHarlem staff to enhance after school programming.

Key takeaways for interns included:

  • Supporting BGCHarlem families during the pandemic illuminated the trend of the destigmatization of accessing mental health. Interns were happy about this trend.

  • Participants recognized that more people are starting to acknowledge the value of social work on a larger scale.

  • Interns learned that the social work field has very little structure, which is both good and challenging.

  • The BGCHarlem field placement this year and during the pandemic taught them how to settle into managing needs without the illusion of being in control.

  • The program also gave insight into how underserved families can and should find ways to secure themselves amid the massive uncertainty of being a member of a disenfranchised group.

  • Most importantly, participants learned that social work is a profession that they are proud to be a part of.

  • Lastly, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, this experience allowed them to reflect on their own social-emotional wellness needs.

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