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Tenderloin Tech Lab’s #1 Intern (Sarah) Blogs!

It’s that time! The semester is about to end and the lonely intern from the St. Anthony’s Tech Lab is about to leave. You may be asking yourselves what has she learned while spending all that time on the 3rd floor? Good question.

Throughout my years in college as a sociology (human services) major, I have constantly been bombarded with issues, policies, and learning about lives filled with despair. In my off-campus program (the Urban Program) provided by Westmont College, I was required to search multiple internships within my interest. One of these opportunities was working at the St. Anthony Foundation Tech Lab in the Job Search Program. When I heard I had a chance to join this community at St. Anthony’s, I was thrilled. I did not expect the amount of hope I was going to receive through this experience.

Being involved in the Job Search Program has enabled me to meet with multiple clients to create resumes and cover letters. Depending on the client’s needs, I have been given the responsibility to search for jobs by creating a job search board, help clients apply to jobs, and understand the entire process of a job search. One of the largest accomplishments was implementing a job skills class along with another volunteer (Matt, a service learner). The Job Search Program has often given me the opportunity to see the most hope within this population. I have the pleasure of working with clients who want to be enabled and empowered to find and maintain a job to create better lives. I felt this position provided me to see an actual result of the work and effort I was contributing to. I was fortunate to see a few clients obtain and maintain a job or attend training and vocational programs.

Through this practical learning, I was also fortunate enough to gain professional relationships with clients and maintain trust from meeting with people one on one. Beyond learning about situations in a text book, this position enabled my learning to expand beyond the pages. My knowledge of urban issues also expanded while working in this position. I gained more insight of drug abuse by working with the FAC residents and hearing inspirational stories during graduation from the program. The exposure to the Tenderloin community has brought me better awareness about this problem as well. Volunteering at St. Anthony’s has given me hope to see lives that have risen up and beyond the sickness of their addition. While working in this position for 3 months, I have seen the importance of addressing the “digital divide.” Through my experience with clients to observing people in the Tech Lab, I have seen the importance of navigating a computer and the internet. It has opened my eyes to see how I have taken my computer skills and knowledge for granted. From the process of cut and pasting to accessing an e-mail account, I realized how frustrating it can be for clients without any prior knowledge or training. With my initial encounter with many clients, I did not realize how many opportunities and resources were unavailable without the access of the internet. I am now grateful for my computer skills that came with my generation and education.

This being my last year in college has especially given me anxiety when thinking about my vocation after college. But from interning at St. Anthony’s, it has confirmed my commitment to working with this population and pursuing a career in social work. Because my experience with the Job Search Program has been so beneficial, I want to continue my involvement with this population. I have also been motivated to create a similar program through my home church in Honolulu, Hawaii. With my experience gained, I hope to implement a program where my services and experience can be of use whether it may be teaching job skill classes or assisting people with finding jobs. I am truly grateful for the Tech Lab Staff for being supportive and providing humor when needed. I am also appreciative for the St. Anthony Foundation which has been crucial in my personal and professional growth.

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