JFSLA Provides Hands-on Training for Social Work Interns
This year, as part of Jewish Family Service LA’s intern program, the agency welcomed 19 social work students in Master’s Degree programs to help them gain experience and receive hands-on training.
The JFSLA intern program is led by Robyn Altmann, Director of JFS Hope’s Clinical Services and Coordinator of Fieldwork Education, and Vivian Engle, JFS Hope Lead Clinician. While this program has been going on for years, this year it has expanded to include more students.
“The internship program provides JFSLA with the opportunity to mentor and train future generations of social workers and clinicians,” said Robyn.
Interns are provided with hands-on training and are supervised by a licensed staff member. In addition, interns get the opportunity to work closely with other program-related staff such as Licensed Marriage Family Therapists, non-licensed social workers, and other interns. JFSLA staff members collaborate to support the interns and provide them with growth and training.
Interns can choose between JFSLA’s many service areas, including JFS Hope’s domestic violence services; Central Access, the agency’s case management; the Ezra Network, the agency’s mental health and support program tailored to the Jewish Community; the Holocaust Survivors Program; the JFS senior centers; and Raising Baby, the agency’s early childhood program.
Among those participating in the program are Jennifer Schwartz and Diba Shooshani, who are both students from the University of Southern California.
Jennifer was interested in working with survivors of trauma and is currently interning at JFS Hope. Through her training, she has learned more about domestic violence, has observed various client intakes, and is looking forward to running intake assessments herself. Jennifer feels passionate about helping survivors of domestic violence attain self-sufficiency and independence.
“I’ve seen how healing can break that cycle and make the world safer for survivors of violence, as well as the people around them,” Jennifer said. She has enjoyed working with JFSLA because of how helpful and organized the program is. She is looking forward to graduating in 2023.
Diba, who will also be graduating next year, decided to intern with Raising Baby to work with families. She has been sitting in on meetings between clients and parent coaches and clinicians.
“I’m really interested in doing therapy with parents and their children. It’s such important work that can make a major difference for future generations, and it really aligns with the social work field I’m interested in,” said Diba. “JFSLA is such a professional place to learn how to do this important work and really provides the structure for up-and-coming social workers or therapists.”
Both interns agreed that they would recommend the program to others. According to Robyn, many interns that participate in the internship program end up working for JFSLA.
“It really is a win-win situation for both sides when that happens, because the JFSLA program gets someone who is already trained; and for the intern, they are already familiar with the program and staff and have a good sense of the job,” said Robyn. “We have former interns working at many of our programs.”