By Yaraly Preciado-Macedo
I am Yaraly Preciado-Macedo, an MSW student from the University of Washington and currently an intern at FamilyWorks. I decided to pursue my master’s in social work due to my own life experience. I grew up in a marginalized community where I witnessed and experienced injustices firsthand. With my experience, I wanted to help navigate and alleviate barriers for others.
I enjoy my practicum experience at FamilyWorks. Every day is different, so I never know what to expect which provides me with a lot of opportunities for learning. I am not from the area in which our participants live in so being a student intern here helped me learn more about the resources of this area and how to engage with a community that is different from my own. Some of my daily responsibilities as an intern are to help participants with whatever needs arise, provide resources to the community and engaging community members to enroll in our programming. Through FamilyWorks, I have also gained experience facilitating programming for middle school-aged, self-identified girls through using the Powerful Voices curriculum.
Powerful Voices is a program aimed at young girls to discuss what it means to be a girl in this day and age. We provide a safe space for girls to realize their dreams, engage with their community, and promote social justice by addressing issues at the root. I really enjoyed my time leading this program. I was able to connect with the girls and was able to provide a space where they felt comfortable sharing their own experiences. The participants of the group were able to engage with the material. They were able to reflect upon their own life experiences about what it means and felt like to be a girl and how they have been treated by others and the media. We held active discussions revolving around identity, positive girl culture and community. After each discussion we had about the topics, I felt like the girls were able to gain something from the session and apply it to their life.
Advice that I would give to future practicum students at FamilyWorks is to regularly practice self-care. The resource center gets pretty busy during certain hours of the day that it can be overwhelming. There are also times when you are working with a participant and they share their story with you. Sometimes those stories can be hard to take in. For your own well-being, it is important to actively practice self-care so that you don’t experience burnout during your internship.
After I complete my MSW degree, I hope to work with the Latinx community in some capacity within the healthcare system.