Internship Spotlight: Wayside Youth and Family Support Network

Current Tufts student Naomi Karmel shared the following about being a Summer Intern at the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network …

What did you do as an intern at this organization?
I was mainly responsible for planning activities for the residents. This proved to be very challenging, given that they had not been outside in a year and a half due to covid and had grown to be slightly agoraphobic. I learned that barriers that would not be barriers for many are often barriers for those who struggle with their mental health, and I learned how to be responsive to these barriers (which was often anxiety). We explored mental health access centers, volunteer opportunities at a farm, and also activities that might enhance wellbeing, such as going to the movies and going to something called Dog Therapy.

I also had an outreach client that I met with once a week. We focused on building her coping skills either by identifying coping skills she has and coping skills she can work on, or even by making physical products that she can refer back to when practicing coping, such as a positive self -talk book or a calendar full of her daily activities. Through this opportunity, I learned that mental health interventions will not always work, and that if I am going to pursue this field, I cannot take it personally.

Finally, I was responsible for completing any additional task in the office that the rest of the staff simply did not have time to do. I made case presentations, researched practitioners around the area that accepted Masshealth, and did apartment checks to our supported apartments).

How did you find this internship?
I found it through the Community Health Database

What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I enjoyed the amount of responsibility that I was given, as it made me feel less like an undergraduate and more like a member of the team.

What did you find challenging?
I found it challenging to develop behavioral interventions for clients with the knowledge that the clients likely would not follow through with what we had discussed following the meeting.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
I would tell them to advocate for your needs as an intern. This internship was fairly slow at the beginning, but once it became apparent that I was responsible and willing to work, I became the person that people could delegate extra tasks to. I was also careful to express my desire to do more both in supervision and during staff meeting.

About the Organization

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network provides a wide variety of mental health counseling and family support services to children, young adults and families in Massachusetts.

By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Assistant Director