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Tyson Foods Interns Gain Experience at Boys Town

Tyson Foods

This summer Boys Town Iowa hosted two interns from the Tyson Foods Summer Community Internship Program - Caitlin Makovicka from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and Katie Gruhn from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.

This program provides full-time college students an eight-week paid summer internship to assist 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.

Caitlin is a junior majoring in social and behavioral science with a second major in general business. During the internship she shadowed Giannella Witt, In-Home Family Services® (IHFS) Consultant, Boys Town 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."

Caitlin reflected on how the people she has met through this internship with Boys Town has been the most enjoyable part for her.

"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."

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The other intern, Katie, is a sophomore majoring in social work. She chose this path because she wanted a career that gave her purpose. This summer she was mentored by IHFS consultant Tammy Russell.

During this internship, Katie has experienced 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. 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," said Katie.

The Tyson interns are right alongside with their Consultant in the field gaining perspective and skills they will need when they enter the field themselves. Along with learning new skills, interns at Boys Town also have the opportunity to learn about other services to address areas such as mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence.  Some additional experiences include attending court hearings, family treatment court, family staffing, internal and community training, and family team meetings. 

"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 (IHFS) Consultant," said Jennifer DeBoer, Supervisor In-Home Family Services, Boys Town Iowa.

When asked what this internships has taught them both Caitlin and Katie mentioned how they have been able to see what the day-to-day operation of social work looks like and they can now use what they are learning in school and apply it 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. This experience helps both the intern and our organization network for the present and future," said Gina Bullard, Supervisor IHFS, Boys Town Iowa. "The internship is a fantastic way to build relationships for future quality employees."