Interns at The VillageBy Esther Gillies
By now Villagers may have noticed that we have two new people appearing in and about the Village office and at a variety of Village events. Both Julie Coveney and Lyle Tooks are graduate students at California State University, Los Angeles, working on master’s degrees in social work.
They were accepted into the Village Internship Program in August and will be with us through April 2024. During this time, they will be meeting and working directly with Villagers, as they expand their experience and knowledge of the aging process. The interns develop an understanding of the vitality and strength of older adults, and become better informed about issues that commonly during the aging process. They also have the chance to learn about the operations of a nonprofit organization.
Julie comes to us with a Master of Arts degree in sociology. With her degree she spent some years working on a broad range of significant research projects. At some point she decided, “I loved working with the numbers and research projects. But I wanted to be more involved with people.” She returned to school for a degree in social work.
Lyle has spent much of his career working on issues related to the homeless population. Growing in knowledge with each of his positions, he assumed more and more responsibility as case manager, Department of Health Services, in 2019; then as a program manager in 2020; followed most recently by his appointment as associate director for the Path Program.
To date, our new interns have been exposed to a wide variety of experiences as they visit some of the 60 events scheduled each month at the Village: Book Club; Meet Me at the Village; newsletter planning; participating in the new Volunteer Training Program; outreach programs; walking programs; participation in the CARE team; and more. They are excited and enthusiastic about the people they meet and the training they are receiving.
The Village welcomed our first social work intern in 2014. The program was designed to provide mutual benefits to both the Village and to the students. To meet graduation requirements for students seeking a master’s degree in social work, students spend 16 hours per week for eight months, working directly with Villagers and staff. The Village, in turn, provides learning opportunities and supervision of the students by an experienced social worker to enhance the interns’ skills in working with older adults.
Over the past nine years the Village has hosted 15 interns, all of whom successfully completed their degree requirements. Today they are working in locations across California. And today, we clearly see the impact interns have made on our Village. For example, it was an intern who created our first successful women’s group, way back in 2014; when the pandemic hit, it was interns who taught us to Zoom; it was interns who created the Village telephone team; and it was interns who listened in awe to Villagers’ stories, recognizing the wisdom generated through life experience. Internships provide an opportunity for the Village to actively engage in helping future social workers learn about the broad scope of the aging process.
The Village welcomes Julie and Lyle as we all look forward to a meaningful and productive experience this year.