The Practicum

Practicum Class 2008 - 2009

CIMG5885

The Resources to Share developed by the 2008-2009 class are extensive.The largest practicum class to date, the many topics presented by this class range from working with teens to non-profit boards to the traditional Burmese culture.The document is divided into sections: Working with the Community and Groups, Working with Teens and Youth, Culture, Working with Organizations, and Partnerships and Marketing.

Resources to Share

Practicum Placements

Placement: Eliot Community Human Services
Student: Jennifer McCabe
Supervisor:Melinda Matthews, Vice President Clinical Services

Eliot Community Human Services, Inc. (ECHS) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to providing services that promote hope, growth and respect to help individuals grow to their full potential. Throughout my practicum experience at ECHS, I have worked in the mental health division of the agency and utilized this opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge about the inner workings of a non-profit organization while simultaneously learning about aspects related to mental health and mental illness.

My focus during practicum was to assist in an agency-wide transformation that moved ECHS system of service delivery from the traditional deficits-based, medical-model to a person-centered, strengths-based model that encourages and promotes recovery. I worked with former mental health consumers who have successfully utilized a recovery program to help fully integrate peer providers into the agency and to promote a culture in which consumer perspectives are appreciated and understood. I also worked with my supervisors and various other ECHS employees during the agency’s reprocurement, which required the agency to collapse a number of their services to provide a more streamlined service delivery model.

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Placement: The Center for Family Work and Community (CFWC)
Student: Denise M. Umphrey
Supervisor: Robin Toof, Acting Director

The central focus of the Center for Family Work and Community is on interdisciplinary and multi-level approaches to community-based initiatives that help to foster happier, healthier and more vibrant communities in ways that are both culturally sensitive and culturally appropriate. These multi-level and multi-cultural initiatives accentuate important core issues related to the field of community social psychology. These include leadership growth and development, family enhancement, capacity building, partnership, collaboration, empowerment and sustainability in an array of sectors including: environmental quality, community-based economic development and the relationship and interdependence between work, community and family life.

One of the many skills that I learned was that of a program Evaluator. In conjunction with the CFWC I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with other well-established community anchors and diverse staff members. My primary objective/role was to help each of these community anchors to develop and implement appropriate assessment tools for their particular program(s). These assessment tools helped each organization to evaluate what the impact(s) of their services were on their participants. They also helped the agencies to identify what their clients were feeling about the different strategies that each of these agencies were employing in their goal to help foster and improve community social welfare.

As a CSP graduate student I worked with key staff members on evaluation projects starting from conception – e.g., on IRB proposals, collaborative development of evaluation methodologies, composition of pre-and post survey questionnaires, data collection, data entry and analysis, and report writing – thereby providing an excellent overview of the evaluation process.

As a CSP student I was able to think through the practical nuts and bolts of how the Center conducted evaluations and engaged in partnerships & projects. The CFWC provided me with a variety of venues, models, resources and community experiences that I was able to use for learning, reflection and contribution. I highly recommend this site for a CSP field placement. I felt extremely privileged to work with members of such a dedicated and professional team. I found the CFWC commitment and devotion to social justice very inspiring.

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Placement: The Center for Family Work and Community (CFWC)
Student: Mark S. Umphrey P.E.
Supervisor: Melissa Wall, Program Evaluator

The Center for Family, Work and Community (CFWC) is a center within the UMASS Lowell Office of Outreach. The CFWC is comprised of UML faculty, staff and students and operates as a resource and facilitator to partner with local community organizations with the goal to improve the psychological health and well being of individuals and communities.

I was involved in four different projects. The services that we as a team at the CFWC provided for these projects ranged from consultations to program evaluation with an emphasis on program evaluation. I primarily focused my time and attention on a program called the AMIGOS Mentoring Program, (Attaining More Improved Grades, Opportunities, and Support). The AMIGOS Mentoring Program is a three-year program offered through Family Services Inc, of Lawrence MA where 160 adult mentors are matched one-on-one with 160 high risk students from grades 4-8 at two schools in Lawrence. I in-conjunction with the CFWC worked on evaluating the program from multiple perspectives.

Another major project that I worked on was sponsored by the State of New Hampshire Juvenile Court System regarding data obtained for youth offenders with alcohol and drug abuse and mental health issues. The experience I received as a result of my participation in the various stages of the evaluation process has provided me with a better understanding of the partnership and the importance of a good partnership, that exist between the CFWC evaluator and the client/program staff. Evaluation is more than a “report card”, it is a tool for improving program efficiency and effectiveness.

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Placement: Lowell National Historical Park
Student: Colin Forbes
Supervisor: Sue Andrews, Director of Communication andCollaboration

The Lowell National Historical Park is an organization that has been in existence for about 25 years. During that time they have played a number of important roles and helped usher in changes that have contributed to the prosperity of the city of Lowell.Some of these changes have included entire renovations of old mill buildings as well as creating museums which help showcase Lowell’s rich past. Presently, the park is involved with organizing and putting together special events for Lowell including Winterfest and the Lowell Folk Festival. I have taken on the task of creating an administrative history of the Lowell Folk Festival and have designed it in order to provide room for future contributions to it.

I have also been involved with work on grants that mainly contribute to the Lowell Folk Festival. I have also interviewed many people who have been a member of the park and who have worked with the park under various different capacities over the years. I have also become involved with the regular meetings that are held at the headquarters and at the Boott Museum.Some of these meetings included partner meetings, where contributors to the park and to the Lowell Folk Festival, marketing meetings, publicity meetings, and programming meetings.

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Placement: Community Gardens Greenhouse
Student: Kelly Ann Davis
Supervisor: Deb Harding

The Community Gardens Greenhouse is a not-for profit initiative, the beautification sub-committee of Keep Lowell Beautiful. The organization is “dedicated to creating social change through the art of gardening, growing communities from the ground up.”

Goals of CGG:

  • Establish our organization as an innovative, community based horticultural development tool that will be responsive to the needs of the flowering city movement.
  • Implement, promote and preserve community gardens in ethnically and socially diverse neighborhoods
  • Encourage residents to participate in horticultural and beautification projects.
  • Increase residents’ awareness of their responsibilities for Lowell's natural resources.
  • Partner with established neighborhood groups to foster networking opportunities.

My work at the Community Gardens Greenhouse has mainly been focused on organizational development. I have been working on grant writing and other fundraising opportunities for the organization.

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Placement: Northeast Center for Healthy Communities
Student: Marcy Desarden
Supervisor: Tami Gouveia-Vigeant

The Northeast Center for Healthy Communities is a program of The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. The NCHC offers many different services ranging from support prevention to health promotion efforts. The staff provides training, technical assistance and support in the development, implementation, evaluation and sustainability of healthy communities initiatives. Their main goals are to prevent use of alcohol, drugs and other substances such as tobacco in various communities. NCHC’s focus is on building up communities by using their assets. Their work is done with a variety of different organizations: community coalitions, schools, task forces and other partnerships.

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Placement: The Revolving Museum (Closed)
Student: Allegra Williams
Supervisor: Diane Testa, Executive Director

The Revolving Museum is a non-profit organization located in Lowell's downtown that believes that anyone, regardless of age, ability, or background can make art, and that any space can be transformed through creativity and artistic expression to improve the community around it.

Although the museum primarily works on public events and festivals, and on temporary exhibits, such as those made by students and local youth in it's free public gallery, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the museum and other partners on its first two permanent projects: the renovation of a public park in the Acre neighborhood known as 'Harmony Park' with art sculptures and youth programming, and a larger development called 'Steam to Dream' which will involve transforming the engine machinery in an old mill into a coffee house and cultural center in the Hamilton Canal District of Downtown. Both projects involve fundraising, program development, community outreach, and marketing, in addition to flexibility and creativity in working with various partners in the design process.

This site offers the potential for a practicum student next year to continue this work, as both projects will be ongoing throughout the next few years.

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Placement: The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
Student: Kerryn Armstrong
Supervisor: Osvalda Rodrigues, Director

The Massachusetts Alliance for Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) has been working to improve the quality of live for Portuguese speaking individuals in Massachusetts since the early 1970s. Within MAPS, Lowell the Domestic Violence program has been working to aid Portuguese speaking woman in issues of DV, advocacy and DV resources. My time at MAPS has been focused on educating the community about issues of Domestic Violence.

To accomplish this goal I have worked to develop a youth domestic violence program which includes 10 weeks of educational programming focusing on domestic violence and how to build healthy relationships. In addition the youth involved in the program will be creating a media piece (PSAs & a mini documentary) to help educate their community about domestic violence. This piece will be accomplished through collaboration with LTC in Lowell.

Through working with MAPS I have had the opportunity to plan and develop a program myself through research and planning and developed a new and unique domestic violence curriculum. I also have been able to network in the community and establish collaborations within the Lowell community. MAPS has also given me a wonderful opportunity to experience a community agency at work and how they do it everyday from everyday duties to planning community events I have learned from seeing MAPS in action.

Lastly, the cultural experience being different than my own has been a good opportunity for me to learn about a differing culture and about cultural differences. I am most proud of being able to help the youth be advocates for domestic violence in their community and to aid them in educating others.

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Placement: The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm
Student: Krista A. Paduchowski
Supervisor:
Amy Baker, Volunteer Coordinator

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell)is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Their services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement and the highest-quality veterinary care available anywhere in the world. They provide direct hands-on care to more than 250,000 animals each year.

The MSPCA-Angell is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that does not receive any funding from state/federal agencies or fellow SPCAs. The MSPCA at Nevins Farm is a remarkable place primarily run on the efforts of volunteers and the funding of generous donations. There are many different opportunities at this organization and I was able to experience and get my hands dirty in almost all areas.

My main focuses were working in collaboration with the humane education coordinator and the community outreach coordinator in their respective areas. I was able to get involved in marketing, PR, sales, and fundraising of the organization as well as helping educate children and adults of the importance of humane education through a variety of methodologies. One large project I was in charge of was creating a retail area in our equine center to help raise money for the medical needs of the abundance of horses we had.

The staff and volunteers at MSPCA are amazing people who provide such wonderful care for their animals. There is so much help needed here and in so many capacities that I was always able to find a way to lend a hand that was beneficial for the organization and enlightening and educational for me.

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Placement: The Center for Family Work and Community (CFCW)
Student: Kris Morfill
Supervisor:Elaine Donnelly

My practicum placement is at the Center for Family Work and Community (CFWC) which is located in the Wannalancit Mill Building on North Campus. At the CFWC I work under the supervision of Elaine Donnelly, who is in charge of the Partnership for College Success (PCS) Program. PCS is a program that provides support and resources for students at UML who graduated from Lowell High School (LHS). PCS has various initiatives which all aim to promote academic success of students who are involved with the various programs that fall under the PCS umbrella.

The practicum placement involves direct contact with staff at the CFWC, and at LHS. This internship also involves direct experience with UML undergraduate students and LHS students who are pursuing higher education. This practicum placement provides graduate students with opportunities to enhance many professional skills including grant writing, data analysis, event planning, networking, and interpersonal skill development.

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Placement: Community Health Center, CARINO HIV Services
Student: Elizabeth Looney
Supervisor:
Karen Peugh

Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC) is a non-profit community-based health care agency, which serves 25% of Lowell’s residents. LCHC focuses its efforts on providing quality, culturally competent medical care, and preventative education.

The CARIÑO HIV services at LCHC is a multi-disciplinary effort between case managers, nurses, providers, and support teams to provide an entire spectrum of care for HIV patients and their families.The CARIÑO Project also focuses on HIV prevention and education.Through my practicum site, I have been able to participate in HIV services/education including:

  • Sit in during On- and off-site HIV Counseling and Testing, including certification inCounseling and Testing through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Designing a project for World AIDS Day in Lowell
  • Attend weekly peer-support group meetings for HIV+ clients
  • Attend case management sessions between case managers and clients
  • Attend directly-observed treatment (DOT) sessions for HIV+ clients who choose to take theirdaily medication regimens at the clinic in front of an adherence counselor
  • Visit with patients in the adult clinic alongside peer support staff to offer support and referrals during doctor’s visits.
  • Attend organization-wide meetings as well as site-visits with LCHC funders

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Placement: Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE)
Student: Nataliya Poto
Supervisor: Jamie Freed, MSW, Director of Adult Services; LifeMAP’s Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor.

Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) offers a comprehensive array of programs and services responsive to the needs of the various sectors of the Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) community. AANE is designed to foster awareness, respect, acceptance, and support for individuals with AS and related conditions and their families. AANE offers conferences, seminars and workshops; support, social and activity groups, online support groups, programs in Spanish.

At AANE, mainly, I was directly involved in working collaboratively on the Practical Assistance Pilot Program LifeMAP. The main goal of LifeMAP is to assist adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and related disorders, and to help increase their independence and ability to live in the community. I was assisting in setting up and implementing LifeMAP, while gaining experience in planning, managing, and developing assessment tools. I also was working with the AS community, while collecting, compiling and organizing data, and finally, presenting the evaluation results.

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Placement: The Arc of East Middlesex (EMARC) – Life Choices Program
Student:Danielle Curley
Supervisor:Kathy Kelly

The Arc of East Middlesex is a non-profit charitable organization founded by parents of children with mental retardation. The Arc provides services and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. The organization serves individuals from various communities in the East Middlesex area. The Life Choices program attempts to ensure that people with developmental disabilities and their families are valued, respected, and given the opportunity to direct their own lives. The program is based on Wellness, Relationships, Independence and Community. There are three different tracks, health and well being, creative expressions, and personal growth. All the tracks include independent living skills, service learning, and a nutrition component. The Life Choices Program collaborates with many other organizations in the area.

I have been able to be a part of collaborations with the YMCA of Reading, Wakefield Cable Access Television, Understanding Disabilities- Ability Awareness in Public Schools, and the Bradford School of Music. Each individual has their own Individual Support Plan focusing on specific goals. I have learned how these goals are set up and how the individual’s progress is recorded. The program promotes community outreach and raises awareness by the individuals going out into the community daily. During the rest of my time at the organization I will continue to be a part of raising awareness and participating in collaborations with the individuals at The Arc of East Middlesex, while also working on curriculum development for the life choices program.

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Placement: Lynn Community Health Center
Student: Yajaira Blanco
Supervisor: Summer Baidak

Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC): Established in 1971 as a tiny storefront mental health clinic, the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) has become the largest provider of outpatient care for Greater Lynn. Over the years, LCHC has grown, now serving approximately 26,600 patients each year.LCHC offers a wide array of services, including, medical, behavioral health, dental care, health promotion services, and case management. The Health center is committed to excellent care for everyone in our diverse community. We devote attention to helping people overcome barriers to care by helping them with insurance, transportation, bilingual, bicultural staff, and interpretation in 15 languages. We develop programs that respond to the needs our communities. For example, the LCHC is the site for the Home Intervention Program (HIP). This program is funded by the Department of Mental Retardation.

The project I worked on is a partnership between the Lynn Community Health Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem. Some of the skills I learned in this project have been writing a grant, collaborating with various community agencies and working with parents of children with disabilities.

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Placement: The Nonprofit Quarterly
Student:Ka-Ryn Escovedo
Supervisor: Andrew Crosby

A nonprofit magazine whose goal is to spotlight, encourage, and hold accountable nonprofit organizations. The magazine’s aim is to provide a forum for the critical thinking and exploration needed to help nonprofits be effective, powerful, and influential organizations that serve communities. My work at NPQ consists mostly of helping Rick Cohen, the national correspondent, with marketing assistance for his various projects and with research for his investigative journalism. I also assist in the editing process and coordinate author releases for their work in NPQ.

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Placement: Regional Economic & Social Development, UMass Lowell
Student: Michele Pagliarulo
Supervisor: John Wooding, Chair

Regional Economic & Social Development is a Master’s program at UMass Lowell. The department has several community outreach programs and projects. Working with Rachel DeMotts, we received a grant from the UMass President’s Office Creative Economy Initiatives Fund for development of interdisciplinary fair trade coursework, raising awareness of fair trade on campus and in the community, and to open a fair trade store in downtown Lowell.

Through this grant, my practicum experiences have been exciting and fulfilling, working with groups and individuals to explore fair trade and to present alternatives to blind consumerism. The principles of fair trade align well with the principles of community social psychology. The social, health, and economic interdependencies between cultures and people have been made especially clear through this practicum experience.

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Placement: Ironstone Farm
Student: Emily Makrez
Supervisor: Deedee O’Brien, Executive Director

Ironstone Farm is a private, non-profit organization that employs horses in a working farm environment to provide therapy for people with a wide range of physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities. They do such by using the horse’s unique ability to enhance a person’s movements and touch a person’s heart, inspiring strength, hope and empowerment.

The farm has provided me with the opportunity to develop professional skills and experience working in a non-profit environment, particularly teaching me how to be a part of a team. The primary pieces of my involvement at the farm have been fundraising, community outreach, and marketing, in an effort to expand the range of individuals that are able to access the farm. I will be collaborating with local businesses, senior centers and schools to raise awareness of Ironstone, as well as the benefits of horseback riding therapy to both the rider and the volunteer. The site has been a wonderful experience personally and professionally and would be a great practicum site for future students.

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Placement: United Teen Equality Center (UTEC)
Student: Rebecca Edwards
Supervisor: Tania Ormonde

UTEC is a by-teens, for-teens youth organization in downtown Lowell, where young people can drop in and hang out, or where they can get involved in programming from dance groups to PC repair. UTEC has a unique model for youth work in which they send outreach workers to the streets to get to know local teens and invite them to the center during drop-in hours. The goal is that once the youth start attending drop-in, making friends, and getting to know staff, they will then decide to attend programming, which will supply them with more life skills and resources.

From the perspective of Community Psychology, UTEC is a very interesting organization because the staff is very close knit and there is an emphasis on interconnection and group decision making. As a practicum student, I have been given the opportunity to organize and co-lead a six-week program called Aviation, and I am about to start writing and a series of long and short trainings to be used in coordination with other UTEC programs.

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Placement: The International Institute of Lowell
Student: Matt Jones
Supervisor: Rebecca Feldman

The International Institute of Lowell is a subsidiary of the International Institute of Boston, and focuses on helping refugees to Lowell resettle their lives. There are many different aspects of the resettlement process, from working through paperwork to finding a job, to securing a place to live to applying for financial aid to learning English. The mission of the International Institute is to supply resources and help for all of these various aspects.

From a Community Psychology viewpoint, the Institute offers a great place to apply many of the theories and ideas taught in class to a population that needs them the most. I have worked on several projects, including one on Healthy Relationships, Legal Resources and Healthy Living. The employees of the International Institute are great and welcome students with a Community Psychology perspective on things.

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Placement: Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell
Student: Erin Carney
Supervisor: Merideth Trueblood

Rape crisis services of Greater Lowell commonly referred to as RCSGL is an organization that takes part in many credible projects. The RCSGL has counselors who offer clients up to 12 free sessions. The RCSGL also offers various support groups and different categories of therapy (yoga, art, dance, etc...). The organization also takes part in community outreach and education. The clothesline display project is a display of different color shirts with each color representing a different form of abuse. The education component consists of school visits while presenting Child Assault Prevention Project. The RCSGL also offers its services to other organizations such as Middlesex Community College and UML.