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An Intern Plants the Seeds of Change

An Intern Plants the Seeds of Change

Guest Post by Tommy Zimmerman, Social Work & Hydroponics Intern at Riverview Gardens

Riverview Gardens?  I did.  Hello prospective interns. My name is Tommy, and I am entering the Social Work masters program at UW-Oshkosh for Fall 2017.  Perhaps, like myself, you are looking to gain real-world experience and improve your resume.  Look no further future applicants.  I would like to talk about my time here at Riverview Gardens, and what it is like to be a social work intern.  Riverview Gardens worked around my busy school and work schedule, and they were able to work with the two days I had to offer.  After about a 100 hours, I have the following to report:

I start every Tuesday morning with the C.A.RE. team, which is Riverview Gardens’ collaboration with Appleton Downtown, Inc. and the City of Appleton, to provide job training and supplemental maintenance services in downtown Appleton. It is not simply about picking up trash (mostly cigarette butts) along College Avenue in Appleton, but the best part of the task is making connections with young adults in the ServiceWorksÒ job-training program. They have made some poor choices and, as a result, have barriers to stable employment. I get the opportunity to help guide them in their situation. I enjoy getting to know their perspectives of life, and to understand circumstances they have created.  I can relate to making poor choices as a young adult. The rest of my Tuesday is spent with job trainees who have differing abilities.  I get the opportunity to work side-by-side with them, and experience contributions through their perspectives. On Thursday, I work with other veterans in the hydroponics greenhouse, as they hone their transferable work skills to make the transition from military to civilian life.

Recently, I was represented Riverview Gardens at the Connect to Courage event at the Fox Cities Performance Arts Center. Riverview Gardens does amazing work to help veterans in ServiceWorks and to be less isolated. The event focused on bringing awareness of Veteran Suicide, and resources to veterans who are in need. Considering my dream job is working as a counselor at the V.A, the experience was inspiring. I enjoyed learning from the other vendors and what they had to offer veterans in our community.  

This is my perspective, and everyone’s is different.  This is only the first 100 hours of my internship.  I can’t wait to see what the next 350 hours looks like.  If you can see yourself in my shoes, get comfortable at Riverview Gardens.  I did.

Pictured: Tommy with fellow veteran and intern, Kristy, at the Connect to Courage event.

Check out the internship opportunities available at Riverview Gardens here.

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