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Intern Sam Nettles Shares How Children’s Center Ignited Her Passion for Prevention

Guest post by: Sam Nettles, Family Support & Intake, Intern 

For the past 6 months I have had the amazing opportunity to intern at Children’s Center. I am currently attending Portland State University in pursuit of a master’s degree in social work and have been able to gain hands-on experience while learning from both the wonderful Children’s Center team, as well as the families that we serve.

When first starting at the Center, I was incredibly nervous to be involved in such a heavy topic and was worried that I wouldn’t know how to help families in the right way. While the goal of my internship was for me to develop more skills as a Social Worker, my experience has greatly exceeded all expectations. I have learned that sometimes all that people need is for someone to listen to their story, someone to tell them that they have options, and most importantly that it takes the smallest bit of compassion for families to have hope that everything is going to be okay.

During my limited time at the Center, I have been behind the scenes of how the Center runs and have observed all that is done to assist families in need. The incredible diversity of the team has shown me that people who care come in all shapes and sizes. There is no single mold for families in need, and there is no one size fits all for those who wish to help.

There is the common expression, “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” In the case of Children’s Center, I believe that the saying could be, “If you love who you work for, you never work a day in your life.” Being a part of the team at the Center feels like being a part of something bigger, being a part of something good.

As my time at the Center comes to an end, there are many things that I will take with me. I will always remember the first family that I was able to work with, and the smile on the kiddo’s face, even after dealing with things no child should have to experience. I will remember the staff that work tirelessly, happy that they are able to make a difference. I will remember the parents that thanked me for listening and giving them the hope that things would be better. Most importantly, I will always remember how easy it is to make a difference in breaking the cycle of abuse.

I hope that as Children’s Center continues to grow as a pillar in our community, more people will see that a little kindness can go a long way, and that breaking the cycles of trauma and abuse are possible within this generation. The knowledge and experience I have gained through working at the Center have not only changed my career goals but ignited a passion for the education and prevention of child abuse.

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