Kelsey AllenBeing a social worker to me is being present in the moment and being there for others, whether it’s providing advice to someone in need or providing a listening ear. Here at Gilda’s Club, the philosophy is just that. The Members here are the true teachers in my eyes. Landing an internship at Gilda’s Club has been a dream come true. Although it’s not your typical social work job, it’s one that will be a part of my learning experience forever.

As a student at the University of Iowa working towards a master in social work with a focus in end of life care, I have had an overall positive experience in the first half, of my year long internship here at Gilda’s.

Through my experience here at Gilda’s Club, I am starting to find my voice, which is crucial. I am learning what my limitations are as well as what I enjoy doing. Prior to coming here, I had little to no experience working with support groups. I know when I leave here, I will be walking away with a plethora of knowledge that I have gained from my co-workers, mentors and members.

I have been fortunate enough to co-facilitate various groups here including the wellness group, grief connections, teen and children groups. Although each and every one of them is unique in their own ways and have taught me a lot, the grief connections group is near and dear to my heart. Since my master’s is focused in end of life care, this group has taught me a lot about the grief process.

It’s not only the amazing members that have taught me a lot but it’s been the amazing staff here at Gilda’s that will leave an everlasting imprint on me. They have been so helpful and kind. They have taken me in as one of their own and have made me feel extremely confident and comfortable in each new experience that I encounter.

My biggest accomplishment so far has been designing and implementing the Grief and the Holiday’s workshop. This experience pushed me outside my comfort zone to present on a topic I have learned so much about but had never presented on.

Gilda’s Club has taught me a lot about myself. It has taught me to embrace change. As social workers, change is something that happens frequently and you have to be able to adapt to it quickly. Through Gilda’s, I have learned to embrace change and be in the moment as much as possible because if not, you just might miss out on something truly great.

My learning experience in this placement has been never-ending. I don’t know where my social work journey will take me, but Gilda’s Club has left a great impact on me that I will take with me as I continue on my journey. I know when I leave here in May, I will have grown personally and professionally and I owe that to the amazing individuals whom I have met here at Gilda’s Club.