Community Internship Logs - GenSan

11:51 PM

As part of the Psychological course requirement, undergrads needs to complete a certain number of hours interning on four different areas. This post will be about my first area - community internship at General Santos City. Not to toot my own horn but I really thought I was going to fail prelims as I was behind my internship & has missed classes but hey, I got a 98 on this one =) YEY ME! The names of the facilities and other participants are redacted on this post for privacy.

Date: December 27, 2013 (DAY 1) Friday

            On our first day as an intern, we travelled all the way to General Santos City as our community setting location. We are to meet up with the resident psychologist of the community we are to intern in. We are received by the staff and after being introduced to their facilities we are told that there are seven children who are apparently in need of an evaluation test as it is a standard requirement for the HOME to have these girls undergo several evaluations to identify the different needs of each. We are then tasked to conduct guided clinical questionings to those who are done with their evaluations. We have observed how and have first-hand experience on how these girls respond to their activities. By 5 p.m. the girls are picked up by the in charge of transportation back to HOME. We then followed and was given a rundown of their facilities and the tasks that each children are assigned to on the daily basis.

            I realized that there is no special way in handling children “at risk” as they respond and manifest in their verbal and non-verbal communications differently. There are those who are eager and easy to talk to, there are lethargic ones who does not like being talked to and there are those who likes disrupting the activities through different antics. The in charge has done a good job in terms of structure and discipline but these children/ girls definitely needs the help of counsellors / psychologists in dealing with their issues of self-worth as most of them feels “dirty”. I saw the need to be extra sensitive to each individual even though we do not know their exact background.

            I admired how the resilient the children were despite their conditions. Upon our initial interviews, I found out that most of them are eager to learn and be somebody someday and some have become altruistic in declaring they want to be of help someday. Even when they are exhausted with their own emotional issues, I learned that almost all of them wants to help their house mates and other children who are “at risk”.

            I have also confirmed what I know from my volunteerism w/ COPERS & other private entities that community setting is special & is what I am passionate about, that I might perhaps pursue this certain field of psychology.

Date: December 28, 2013 (DAY 2) Saturday

            Our second day started with chores for the children as they have their daily assigned tasks such as watering plants, sweeping the floor and washing dishes. It showed great discipline and sense of purpose that the in charge were able to instil to the girls. After breakfast, we are then transported back to the centre where the workshop was agreed to be conducive for the activities. After a brief run through we have then prepared the materials needed and distributed name tags for all 17 participants as well as taken their attendance.
            I felt ready and excited to co-facilitate the workshop and help these girls process the first day of the two day workshop. As the workshop started, house rules was established, the background of the HOME was introduced and explained how it all came into fruition.
On the first activity, we were divided & co-facilitated a group each for the “Who Am I?” or “Sino Ako?” question, the kids were asked to draw symbols of how they see themselves & should be able to explain to their group mates. The girls had a hard time thinking of symbols to best explain what they think they are but once they have, they had no problem explaining the why. They were then asked to have a representative to explain in the big group for the processing where self-worth was emphasized. After a quick break where the girls again showed their sense of responsibility by taking care of the younger ones. The next activity was about “Self- discovery through others”. In this activity, I have come to face my weakness, making origami’s as I help out the girls in my group. The group was told to make origami hearts for each member of their group & write what they liked about that particular person. After which, they have to present it to that person & the other person will recognize what was said by saying thanks. This activity gives the girls the chance to compliment the other children as it was recognized how hard it is to give affirmations and compliments with their current situations and experiences. It was then processed and summarized by the facilitators. After lunch break, the third activity was “The things I want to improve in me”, where they were given colored papers & then asked to write those things they want improved or changed about themselves. Most talked about cleansing or wanting to be clean again, some declared that they want to stop being hard headed & be more responsible and the others wants to stop being a bully and creating trouble. After which they were regrouped & encouraged to share to other members who will then give support to that goal of change. It was again processed and summarized. The fourth and final activity of that day was about “My Hopes and Dreams” where they are to draw rainbows with two colors of their choice and write their hopes and dreams in each ray. They are again ask to share this to their groups. Most talked about finishing school and helping out their family, some talked about helping out others by being a nun or be a helping professional while others talked about famous like a singer or actress.
By the time the last activity was processed & synthesized, the fatigue showed greatly on the children’s faces. Some are becoming unruly again but most just sits there and doesn’t want to move anymore. By five p.m. they are again picked & transported back to HOME. Although they were exhausted, they still did their assigned tasks for that evening before retiring for the night.
We expected the workshop to be tiring but we did not expect it to be that draining that by nine p.m. we are already deep in our slumber. Even when the activities was designed to be light and positive it was still very heavy as it makes one face and come to terms with one self. I realize that these girls, despite what happened to them, still has a fighting chance to become a better individual in the future because of these helping institutions but at the same time I know that there are others who are still out there in constant danger & needs or help.
            As a student of psychology, I know that my job was to have these girls realize that they still have a bright future when they recognize how special they are and help themselves be better by recognizing that they are in charge of their life by being strong arming themselves with education.

Date: December 29, 2013 (DAY 3) Sunday

            The fatigue was evident on the second day of the workshop. The children had a hard time waking up and doing their chores that we are a little delayed in starting. After arriving at center, as opposed to yesterday’s vibrant & happy chatters, the girls today only sat in the corners and mostly dozed off.
            After the attendance and a short prayer, we started with the first activity which is recognizing the importance of non-verbal communications. These girls were given puzzles per group and was tasked to give puzzles that doesn’t belong to them to other groups without saying anything after which they are to solve the puzzles in silence. After all the groups are done, it was processed by Belle, Cy and I in which it was explained to them that non-verbal communications have a positive and a negative impact so they must learn to realize when to use it or recognize it appropriately. The second activity was about team building and working together as a team. They are grouped and was asked to transfer an item from one point to another. In this they soon realized that if they do not work as a team and be calm in doing their tasks, they will never succeed. After it was processed, we had lunch break and then to the third activity which was about receiving compliments and positive reinforcements from peers. They are told to form a big circle facing each other, when the facilitator gives the command, they are to step forward and whisper the compliment to the person in front. The receiver of the compliment is not allowed to say anything but thank you. After that, the facilitator will give the command for the circle to move and the same thing is done to new partners. This was processed by affirming how important it is to give and to receive positive feedbacks from peers. It was a bit hard for them to do both & there was a lot of hesitations but in the end it was such a triumph to see these girls give their best for each other.
The workshop of this day was synthesized and summarized with the children who are then again pick up by five in the afternoon and transported back to HOME.
            Despite the full activity of the day, the impact of the different activities manifested itself to these children differently. There are others who was very nice yesterday but are being belligerent today, others who was unruly yesterday but very subdued and quiet today. It affects the individual differently and for us as co-facilitators it is really a learning experience to see all of it from a different perspective. There are certain individuals who I had to talk to one on one when I saw them bullying or hurting the younger ones. I had to explain that they are older and must exercise patience with the younger ones and even to everyone because all of them are going through different stuff.
            As for our group, recognizing that it will be our last day with them tomorrow, we asked for permission to go out and buy tokens to the girls for the culmination activity the next day. We went to a mall and bought the things we needed and stayed up late to finish the individual packages. We then called it a night.
            I am glad to see that most of the girls are willing to receive help from others and that even when it’s hard for them, they are also able to extend a helping hand to other children too. They are also not daunted by their past and is working through their present with still a bit of child-like animation to have a better future by coming into terms with their situations. I have come to recognize how therapeutic music really is for the children because during their down time, they just get singing and have fun with the songs. 

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