Updated: Dec 12, 2019
From the start of this internship, Healthy Futures of Texas has made me feel welcomed and consistently encouraged me to have a voice. As an intern, I expected to be seen and not heard, but the staff has always shown interest in my perspectives. Throughout this internship, I’ve gained more confidence to share my ideas and opinions in a professional setting.
I was given the opportunity to contribute to upcoming health education projects, such as research for the Rosemont Parent Engagement project a health educator is building, observing planning for the Texas Campaign's Annual Symposium, Results-Based Accountability training and more.
Inclusion is definitely a value amongst co-workers, but also of the Big Decisions curriculum. The Big Decisions training prepares facilitators regarding gender identity, sexual orientation, and proper language when communicating to students with traumas and triggers. I was trained in the Big Decisions sex education curriculum. This abstinence-plus approach takes into account not only physical health but the mental and emotional well-being of students. This curriculum teaches how to build healthy relationships and set boundaries, which is helpful to have thriving adult relationships that are not only romantic but with family and friends. As an aspiring Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I’ll be able to apply the skills I gained through Big Decisions to counseling.
Seeing an organization be transparent with their funding and function with progressive outlooks and values makes me optimistic I’ll find a position within an organization that is passionate about their mission, respects and takes into account the mental health of their staff, and holds the organization to a high level of integrity. This Healthy Futures of Texas internship has been a memorable experience. I’m eager to see where my career path takes me and how Healthy Futures will grow over the years.
As an intern, you generally think that your main role is to file paperwork, input data, and remain seen but not heard. I’ve had the opposite experience at Healthy Futures - one that has sought to maximize my learning potential, build upon what I’ve learned in college thus far, and further set me up for success.
There’s a real feeling of inclusion when you’re able to attend community health initiatives to better your city, not just to quietly observe, but to actively participate and to feel as though your opinion is welcomed. Over the course of the fall semester, I’ve had the privilege of attending Healthy Families Network meetings, a coalition of public health agencies working to tackle health disparities plaguing the greater San Antonio area, as well as conference planning sessions for the Texas Campaign’s 9th Annual Symposium that will tell San Antonio’s story in teen pregnancy prevention and adolescent health. At one Annual Symposium Planning Meeting, in particular, I was able to voice my thoughts on how the lack of inclusivity in sexual and reproductive health education ostracizes and shames marginalized communities.
I was able to speak to this matter as my main project throughout my internship at Healthy Futures critiqued sexual health education curriculum by identifying non-inclusive, shame, and fear-based language. It was an extensive project that required weeks of work and background research and is something that I’m extremely proud to have completed. This research has allowed me to add to the state-wide conversation with the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and will set a standard for future sexual health curricula.
These experiences have taken me beyond the books of theory, programs, and practice, to applying knowledge to real-world scenarios that will impact the community. It’s inspiring to have had the opportunity to sit at the table amongst San Antonio’s changemakers. Thanks, Healthy Futures, for going above and beyond in making this internship experience meaningful. It definitely wasn’t what you see on TV.