This summer, I am currently interning for the Stanislaus Family Justice Center. In October 2003, President George W. Bush announced the creation of the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative. The $20 million Initiative began a movement toward more “one stop shop,” co-located, multi-disciplinary service centers in counties with high rates of reported cases of domestic violence and sexual assault for victims of these crimes. The Stanislaus Family Justice Center (SFJC) was founded in 2010 as the Family Justice Center operation for Stanislaus County. The SFJC offers compassion and hope for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking with collaborative services in one safe place.
As the Stanislaus Family Justice Center Intern, I have been primarily working with the children recovering from some form of emotional, physical, and or sexual abuse by either coordinating events, counseling children, and or leading activities.
There are a variety of things we have been doing with children over the course of the summer. Every Tuesday, we have been performing community outreach by doing restorative art programs with the children receiving services from the Modesto Gospel Mission, a refuge and recovery facility for individuals that have fallen on hard times in the Stanislaus county community. Moreover, a few times throughout the summer we have been hosting day camps entitled “Camp Cricket” at a satellite location, appropriately called “Cricket’s House,” of the Stanislaus Family Justice Center. During these “Camp Cricket” events, on average, forty children arrive to our satellite location where they participate in art activities, play recreational games, and develop friendships with other children from similar backgrounds.
However, the big event we do every summer is our week long outdoor camps to Kidder Creek in Etna, California. The Stanislaus Family Justice Center sends a combined sixty kids, twice a summer, to camp—for many of these children it is their first time not only out of the city where they are from, but it is also their first time experiencing the outdoors. At the camp the students participate in an array of activities: zip lining, shimming on a ropes course, river rafting, archery, arts & crafts, bmx biking, firing off sling shots, swimming, and many many many other activities. The kids at the camp have an absolute blast. It is incredibly rewarding being a part of planning, the counseling, and the recovery process for each of the children that receive services from the Stanislaus Family Justice Center and attend camp.
In less than two weeks, we are heading to our second camp with an older group of children whose age range from 12-17. I cannot wait, and am really looking forward to the work ahead!
Experiences like Ryan’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff.