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“A Sense of Needing to Contribute” – Practicum Reflection by Teresa Kinder

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Teresa KinderInterning at PJALS has provided me with a unique opportunity to learn mezzo and macro level social work practice. I learned what advancing social change really means and what working for a better tomorrow looks like. Students in my social work cohort question whether they are really making a difference. At PJALS I have never questioned if my work is making a difference. Being an intern has shown me my own faults and areas for improvement but also how to make a difference in the community.

At the start of the year I started at another internship. I remember hearing fellow interns Jamie and Victoria talk about all the work they were doing at PJALS and feeling a sense of needing to contribute to this work.

Starting my internship at PJALS, one of the first things I was a part of was a demonstration about the Department of Justice report on torture tactics employed by the Bush administration and developed at Fairchild Air Force Base. This small demonstration was my first look into the injustices perpetrated in our country and one action we can take to counter injustice.

Working on the Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference this year taught me a different skill set from demonstrations. I learned the amount of work that is put into holding a daylong conference, from finding workshops to organizing volunteers for the event. Organization became key in getting anything done as well as follow up. The skills gained helping organize the conference will help me organize events in the future.

I have been involved in this year’s Young Activist Leader’s Program and enjoyed every moment of it. There are not a lot of times you get a bunch of young leaders together and have a leadership program tailored to them. Countless times before I have had the sense that anyone wanting change in the system has to be older than myself. The YALP group has taught many lessons as well as providing fundamental insight into how to be an organizer.

Interning at PJALS has been a better experience than I could have asked for. I worked on campaigns and issues ranging from economic justice to smart justice and everything in between. I understand now why so many past interns continue working with PJALS; leaving will be an impossible challenge. PJALS is a unique experience in Spokane working with different populations and creating real change in our local communities.

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