This week’s blog was written by Hope Orsi, SCY Student Program Assistant, on experience during her internship.
My time as an intern at SCY was an unusual experience that I am very grateful for. I had about a month and a half in the office at SCY before remote work guidelines were established in mid-March and I began to meet with the team only online. Still, I gained a new perspective and much knowledge from a group of supportive and incredible people.
Although I wasn’t able to be present at the SCY Quarterly Meeting in February on Investment in Communities, I did get to assist with preparation and follow-up which helped me to learn about SCY’s partners and the importance of the collaborative for making positive change for the youth population in Chicago. My knowledge of the importance of investment in communities grew as I learned about how job opportunities, housing, built environment, transportation, and many other factors can affect rates of violence within a community. The team at SCY works to build a narrative in which many partners from around the city can contribute to and learn from each other. Through SCY, I was able to learn about many of the efforts to support youth in Chicago, which I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Before beginning my work at SCY, I knew there were violence prevention efforts in Chicago, but I did not know much about them. One topic that SCY greatly expanded my knowledge on was restorative justice and the Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC). I had not known of any program like the JJC before and the work they do is impressive. Completing a project that looked at the components of the JJC and other programs similar to it, I learned about the importance of the personalized approach and trauma-informed care to preventing recidivism. The JJC works with youth offenders to keep them out of the justice system, which the project is very successful in doing, through restorative efforts and social services.
In mid-March, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic moved the SCY team to remote work for safety and prevention. During my time working from home I got to meet with the SCY team once a week online, which was always a great way to end the week. The team at SCY is incredibly supportive of one another and it was a privilege to be part of all the great work they do. Working from home, I spent much of my time on a project that involved learning about the different health needs in Illinois, specifically around injury, and what the root causes of some of these might be as well as where the gaps in care lie. As someone who is an aspiring public health professional, this project was very interesting and opened my eyes to many efforts that are still needed in the state.
Although my time at SCY wasn’t what I had expected due to the pandemic, I am glad to have an experience that challenged me to adapt to change. I am deeply thankful for getting to work with the team at SCY and for all I learned.