It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, because life has been a little crazy (when isn’t it?). However, this one summer experience I had is one I’ve been meaning to share and now seems as good a time as any.
The Rutgers Institute of Women’s Leadership has many programs throughout the year to help female college students develop leadership skills they can bring to their careers and communities. This summer I took part in one of them, the Community Leadership, Action and Service Program, otherwise known as CLASP. Through the program, students work in internships at local non-profits for five weeks. During that time, they also take a seminar on women’s leadership and responsible ways to help a community. For me, the experience was eye-opening and amazing.
The program placed me with the Sanar Wellness Institute, a non-profit in Newark that works with survivors of human trafficking. Specifically, they provide psychological support to survivors, mostly through yoga and art therapy.
Now, I didn’t work with clients, because I’m not a social work major, but I still learned a lot. My job consisted primarily of two things: social media and curriculum development. For the social media aspect, I managed their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. However, the more meaningful part came from the curriculum development.
The Institute had been chosen by Rutgers to rework the curriculum used to teach social workers about how to deal with survivors of human trafficking. My job was a combination of fact-checking, lesson arrangement, and secretarial duties(see: type, copy, paste). As far as the fact-checking went, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. For example, just this year Polaris published a new typology (see: listing different categories) of human trafficking: There are 21 types of Human Trafficking. Also, that big deal the news usually makes about human trafficking increasing around wherever the Super Bowl is happening? False. If you want more details, just ask and I can go through the PowerPoint.
In addition to this, the seminar also taught me a lot. It was an odd combo of Intro Race and Gender studies, Social Justice, and Community Building with the other volunteers from the program. Everyone there was really amazing and worked with organizations across New Brunswick like Unity Square, Youth Empowerment Services, and New Labor. If you’re interested in Women’s Leadership and/or helping out the community, be sure to check this out, as the applications will probably open soon.