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Tyson Internship

Future Social Workers Gain Real-World Experience through Tyson Internship at Boys Town Iowa

September 16th, 2019     By Boys Town Contributor

College, Village of Boys Town

Tyson Foods and Boys Town Iowa teamed up this summer to help inspire and prepare the next generation of social workers.

The Tyson Foods Summer Community Internship Program provides full-time college students with an eight-week paid summer internship to work for community organizations and gain experience with diverse social issues. Tyson Foods is underwriting the program in the Chicago area and in Sioux City, Storm Lake and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Campus Compact affiliates in Iowa and Illinois are overseeing and administering the program.

Boys Town Iowa hosted two interns -- Caitlin Makovicka and Katie Gruhn -- from the program this year. Caitlin is a junior majoring in social and behavioral science at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Katie is a sophomore majoring in social work at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.

"I chose the career path of social work because I have a strong interest of helping people and making everyone feel loved and that they have a purpose," said Caitlin. "The social work field is a flexible career that gives me the opportunity to work in different environments and with different people. Social work allows me to make a difference in my community."

In her internship, Caitlin shadowed Giannella Witt, an In-Home Family Services® (IHFS) Consultant with Boys Town Iowa. She said the people she met and worked with at Boys Town Iowa was the most enjoyable part for her experience.

"From the first day that I started, my supervisor, Jenni DeBoer, and In-Home Family Consultant Giannella Witt have made me feel like I am part of the Boys Town family and not just an intern," said Caitlin. "The other members of the Boys Town team have also been very friendly and fun to get to know throughout the summer."

Katie said she chose the social work field because she wanted a career that gave her purpose. She was mentored this summer at Boys Town Iowa by IHFS Family Consultant Tammy Russell.

Katie said her internship gave her an opportunity to experience firsthand just how rewarding a career in social services can be.

"The most enjoyable part of the internship was when I was able to witness families reuniting," she said. "Boys Town's focus is on the reunification of families and keeping kids in their homes. That may not always be possible, but when it is and it works, it's an amazing feeling."

Caitlin and Katie accompanied their Family Consultants on visits to families that are receiving services, gaining perspective and skills they will need when they enter the field themselves. Along with new skills, the interns also are learning about other services that address challenges like mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence. Additional experiences include attending court hearings, family treatment court, family staffing and family team meetings, and internal and community training. 

"I think Boys Town is a great place for the Tyson interns to gain experience as it gives these students a chance to be immersed in the position of an In-Home Family Services Consultant," said Jennifer DeBoer, IHFS Supervisor at Boys Town Iowa.

Caitlin and Katie both mentioned that one of the most valuable aspects of their internship was seeing the day-to-day operation of social work and determining how they can apply what they are learning in school to the real world.

"The experiences help to give a broader understanding of the work being completed and how their course work is put to use," said Gina Bullard, IHFS Supervisor at Boys Town Iowa. "This experience helps both the intern and our organization network for the present and future. The internship is a fantastic way to build relationships for future quality employees."

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