The Practicum

Practicum Class 2005 - 2006

In their Resources to Share project, the class of 2005-2006 explore the steps of program evaluation and effective survey development.They discuss reaching out to diverse groups and a value framework for Community Psychology. In addition to event planning tips, theylook into marketing and provide sources of funding from Massachusetts foundations.

Resources to Share

Practicum Placements

Placement:Aging & Disability Resource Consortium (ADRC)
Student: Maureen Argie
Supervisor:Sarah Dubik-Unruh, ADRC Project Coordinator

The ADRC is a partnership between two community agencies, Northeast Independent Living Center (NILP) and Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley (ESMV). The ADRC is in its last year of a three-year federally funded grant. Being a community collaboration that was funded by a grand, this practicum offered many opportunities. It has been a great learning experience to see how two well-established organizations, ESMV and NILP, can work together, compromise, advocate, and successfully deal with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, who was awarded the grant.

Some skills that I have developed or improve include: assessing the needs of underserved populations, summarizing the results of focus groups, creating outreach strategies based on the results, assisting in the creation of printed advertising materials, creating forms and procedures for the Community Transition team, co-facilitating meetings, following and completing a grant work plan, how to create a successful sustainability plan, and understanding the functions of a consumer board and a community partners’ board.

_______________________________________

Placement:Northern Essex Community College; Student Activities & Orientation
Student:C.J. LeBlanc
Supervisor:Dina Brown

I worked on creating a new office space to be shared by various clubs and organizations on the Haverhill campus, including the development of a Shared Usage Policy and working with members of other divisions of the College to make sure that offices were ready, including telecommunications and comptroller offices. I have also assisted with Orientation and conducted tours around campus of prospective students. I will also be conducting a Student Interest/Needs Assessment Survey to determine student interest in activities and programs at NECC. This job has helped me to develop people skills and to be more comfortable speaking to groups of people.

________________________________________

Placement:King Open School
Student:Deanna Lima
Supervisor:Timothy Groves, principal

My focus was school climate. I have analyzed three separate surveys conducted on the climate of the school. I have prepared a report and a handout that will be presented at the School Council school climate meeting next month. I am working with the school climate committee to plan an anti-bullying event. Another piece of my work is to interview parents in order to better understand the factors that prohibit their participation in the school community. I have also helped the parent liaisons with some of their projects, not necessarily related to school climate, just to be helpful.

This far, the majority of what I have learned has been in the area of professional development, as this was a difficult system to become a part of and to find a place in. This placement has been a great experience. I am glad I chose to work in a city other than Lowell (where I have always lived and worked) and in an environment other than a non-profit social services type of agency.

_________________________________________

Placement:Saheli, Friendship for South Asian Women
Student:Artie Maharaj
Supervisor:Usha Vakil

Note: This organization lacks office space. Monthly meetings are held in Burlington.

Saheli, Friendship for South Asian Women is a group dedicated to helping South Asian women in Boston and surrounding areas. Saheli was founded in 1996. It provides friendship, support, guidance, and resources in the areas of career and economic empowerment, physical and mental health, legal and immigration issues, support for families, and social and cultural volunteer opportunities. We provide referrals to a diverse group of service providers and lend support to women in situations of crisis. Saheli has gained valuable experience and expertise in identifying the needs of the community and delivering culturally appropriate assistance.

___________________________________________

Placement:The Merrimack School
Student:Laura Mattie
Supervisor:Emma Weiss, LICSW

The Merrimack School, a component of the Merrimack Education Center (MEC), is comprised of an alternative high school, alternative middle school, vocational school, assessment center, and extension program (which works with students who have Asperger’s). My placement was specifically within the alternative high school. Some information about the high school:

  • Utilizes concepts based on a Reality Therapy Model that holds students responsibly for their actions through natural consequences and peer group feedback
  • Students are given the opportunity to participate in outdoor education, technology education, field trips, and community service
  • Students at the high school are enrolled in classes that prepare them for graduation
  • The goal: Prepare students to return to public school setting when appropriate

This is the second year the Merrimack School has hosted a practicum student. The overall pieces of the practicum experience at MEC have included the following:

  • (70% of the time) Lead the Senior Group, helping current high school seniors transition from high school to life after graduation. Teach résumé writing, interviewing, college application writing, schedule college trips, bring in appropriate speakers, etc.
  • (10% of the time) Develop a program evaluation measure, circulate it to the appropriate audience, gather and organize findings, present results.
  • (10%) Sit in on IEP and SPED Director meetings.
  • (10%) Work with students in the Asperger’s program.

This site is ideal for someone who wants to work one on one with behaviorally, emotionally, and learning disabled students. Or for someone interested in education systems and how numerous groups (parents, public schools, social workers, psychiatrists, DSS, parole officers) must come together in collaboration on behalf of a student.

___________________________________________

Placement:Haverhill Public Library
Student:Bernie McAnn
Supervisor:Susan Katzensten

  • Developed and conducted a Teen Survey to develop a profile of teen patrons, how often they visit, why they visit, and to improve teen services. Complied data and created a report to submit and present to library’s board of trustees. May present information at a future Merrimack Valley Library Consortium meeting.
  • Researched grant opportunities. Wrote and submitted one grant, working on a second.
  • Many opportunities for collaboration.

__________________________________________

Placement:City of Lowell’s Division of Planning and Development (DPD)
Student:Ryan McIntosh

Supervisor:Allison Lamey

I worked alongside the community development staff, which provides technical assistance and administrative support to many nonprofit organizations in the City who receive funding through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program. I helped review the City’s annual plans and RFPs, and I assisted with the intake and organization of the grant applications. I also had the opportunity to go on monitoring site visits, which is where I got to meet many people from the community and learn what they do. In addition, I worked with the SHIFT (Stabilized Housing for Individuals and Families in Transition) Coalition, which is a collaborations of agencies who are working together to prevent homelessness in Lowell and promote self-sustainability, and I was responsible for taking the minutes of their monthly meetings.

I also worked with the Planning Department at DPD to create a brochure for the general public that explains (in layman’s terms) the duties and responsibilities of the Planning Board. I served as the project manager for updating the City’s fair housing and equal opportunity information. In this role, I was responsible for providing the necessary information to the Human Resources Director so that her department could accurately create the required documents.

Overall, this was a rewarding practicum experience, and I would definitely recommend it to others. If you want to learn about City government, work with people in the community, and be part of a great team, then this may be the place for you. If you have any questions about this placement, feel free to email me, and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

_______________________________________

Placement:U.S. Department of Labor – Women’s Bureau
Student:Cecilia Okafor
Supervisor:Jacqueline Cooke

In my placement area, I became an Outreach and community liaison person in the community, especially in the Merrimack Valley area. I contacted about 10 agencies/institutions on Women’s Bureau Programs (Wise-Up and GEM Nursing).

Wise-Up is a program for women ages 22-35 years old that teaches women basic financial needs. This program can be taken online or in a classroom setting. GEM Nursing is a program targeted at young people ages 15-21 years old that helps them explore career opportunities in nursing. The reason I did my internship with Women’s Bureau is to know the reasons why community agencies are not eager to work with the federal government.

_________________________________________

Placement:Grandparents as Parents (GAP) Resource Network of Greater Lowell
Student:Holly Trouville
Supervisor:Rachelle Comtois, Director

In my practicum this year, I have learned many skills and have discovered much about the nonprofit world. I learned how to plan and develop an informational fair. There were many stems, from inviting agencies to sending out thank you notes. I was also able to evaluate the fair afterwards to see what worked and what did not work. I also picked up some computer skills, as well as grant writing. I had the chance to interact with the grandparents and grandchildren of this organization through group meetings that I attended. I also went on home visits to find out the needs of the grandparents and their families. This placement has been very beneficial to me in my studies this year.

_______________________________________

Placement:Angkor Dance Troupe
Student:Traci Weinstein
Supervisor:Doeun Kol; Tim Thou

The Angkor Dance Troupe is a Cambodian youth program that was devised to provide the community’s youth the opportunity to play an active role in the planning and implementation of Angkor’s arts and humanities, administrative activities, and other programmatic endeavors. The goal of the troupe is to enhance the members’ capacity to develop problem solving and mediation skills; improve their academic performance and college readiness; reduce teen dropout rates; and improve youth and intercultural relations across the city of Lowell. Youth members range in age from 5-18, with some members staying on with the troupe after high school to assume administrative responsibilities. Dance lessons are provided free of charge to anybody in the local community who is willing to make a commitment to the troupe.

Current practicum projects include:

  • Development of a Professional Development/College Readiness Program
  • Assist the troupe with fundraising activities and community performances, typically on an as-needed basis
  • Communicate dance troupe activities to the local community at large
  • Attend both formal and informal meetings at the troupe’s request, including monthly board meetings and monthly meetings with the senior staff
  • Become involved in the day-to-day activities of the troupe, including collaboration with other volunteers and youth-focused community agencies
  • Work with the troupe on ongoing issues of sustainability

_______________________________________

Placement:Women Working Wonders Fund (WWWF)
Student:Jamie Weller
Supervisor:Brenda Costello, Chair

The WWWF was founded January 2004. It is a permanently endowed fund that currently has $185,000. Their vision is to advance the contributions of women and girls in the community to take advantage of their power to effect positive change. The WWWF will specifically serve to: assist women in transition; provide leadership development, and; contribute to the beautification of the environment. The Fund gave out their first grant ($5000) to Lowell Transitional Living Center at the Lowell Women’s Week Breakfast on March 6, 2006 for its “Women’s Education Fund.”

I drafted donation solicitation letters, prepared several bulk mailings, and assisted with a fundraising event. I worked with the Leadership Committee (12 women) to draft the grand application and mailed it to 20 nonprofits in Lowell. I also drafted an evaluation/criteria form for the grand application review process. It was interesting to watch the Leadership Committee develop many of their procedure for the first time, such as the grant application and review processes, and watch the Fund take shape.