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Social Work Interns Make an Impact

Updated: Feb 28

(from left) Ella Gil, Rosabelle Fergus, and Dariana Noyola

Last September, Ellis welcomed three social work interns to the Ellis team to help and learn from our current social workers, Cherish Casey and Liz Brot. They are halfway through their time at Ellis and have been making a huge impact with their work. Rosabelle Fergus and Ella Gil are both Social Work majors at Simmons University, and Dariana Noyola is a Social Work and Criminal Justice major at Regis College. 


Ella explains that the social work intern team focuses a lot on social-emotional groups for the children. Each group lasts six weeks, and each has a different theme, such as how we treat our friends and how music makes us feel. For instance, a small group of preschoolers would gather to learn from the interns about social skills, typically by reading a book and practicing what was taught in the story. They would learn how to express their emotions with each other by sharing and using cooperative play. Ellis has seen the power of small group work to supplement social-emotional development gaps seen in the classroom.


 Rosabelle brings enthusiasm and experience to the team, which helps her focus on difficult situations. “I handle a lot of crisis management with individual children who are struggling. I have a lot of background working with children, especially in a foster care environment, and I’m used to dealing with certain struggles that kids face in those situations.”


Dariana is working on a research binder filled with resources for parents that social workers can have on hand. She also helps find resources for our pamphlets, our daily to-dos, supporting teachers in the classroom, and supporting families who speak Spanish.


Ella values what she has learned. “I’ve been able to strengthen my skills working with children and behavioral management. I’m learning to use different approaches to de-escalating situations.  I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn about how to be a social worker and how that looks in a place like Ellis, from a macro to a micro perspective.” 


Rosabelle agrees, saying, “In this role, you’re always learning, so whatever you think you know, it might change tomorrow.  I think also I’m learning to give myself grace when there are situations where I don’t know what to do, or when I’m really struggling working with one child.” She has learned how important it is to work with a team.


Dariana adds, “I’ve really had a lesson seeing the back end of what trauma does to children, especially in early childhood, and how the trauma shows itself in the classroom.”


The social workers have also upheld Ellis’s mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Ella takes the child’s perspective. “Just be aware that you don’t know what the child is going through, so try to let the child lead the conversation and the play, have them show you their understanding of the world, and work from there.” 


Rosabelle relates to DEI on a personal level. “I think being a Black female myself, it’s really important for younger kids to see themselves in the adults they work with and look up to.” Dariana stresses the importance of seeing each child as an individual. “We need to look at each child for who they are and what they need no matter where they’re from and what their background is.”


Our current social work team is grateful for the interns’ contributions to their work. Cherish says the interns have allowed her to focus on other areas, as they have taken the lead on social-emotional groups and have helped out in the classroom. Liz was happy to add, “It’s an honor to give back to a profession that I whole-heartedly love and it’s been really amazing to support people that are learning and have the same kind of passion.” Cherish stresses that the benefits go two ways. The interns’ work diversifies their skillset while they do meaningful work early in their careers.

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