Career Connections

Carly Nicodemus

Major: Child, Adult, and Family Services

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Iowa

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Orchard Place
Company/Organization website:
Title: PACE Kids club staff member
Destination: Des Moines
Timeframe: June 2016-August 2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Provide care to children with a mental health diagnosis. Implement activities and lesson plans to help the children develop social and educational skills. Collaborate with 5 other staff members on what would work best for the summer program.

I accomplished...
Making relationships with the children and staff members. Being able to see progression in the children's abilities and behaviors over the course of the summer.

My most valuable effort...
The most valuable project I worked on was probably working with specific children on different tasks each day. One of the children did not know how to write his name, so my goal is to help him learn how to write his name by the end of the summer. Other goals and projects I still have is working with the children on their specific behaviors and seeing improvements throughout each day/week.

I learned...
We didn't get much training on how to handle specific behaviors when they occurred at camp, so to me it is pretty valuable all of the different techniques I have witnessed and learned from other teachers there. We learn through observing our supervisors and others in the building, so to me that is very valuable and I will take those things I have learned and use them in the future.

I will never forget...
I believe the most memorable experiences would be making connections and relationships with the children. When they give me a hug when they get to camp, or when they leave, that just puts a smile on my face. I think the field trips are pretty memorable too.

A surprising discovery...
I think the behaviors from the children were very surprising to me. I have had a ton of difficult situations at camp with different behaviors, and I have to try my best to handle it in the best way I think is possible. I think it will change the way I approach my profession, because if I do a job like this after my internship, I can carry over the techniques I have learned and taught myself.

Advice for others...
I think that going into the internship with a completely open mind is the way to go. I had no idea what this was going to be like, and I had no idea that some of the days were going to be as intense as they have been. But just keeping in mind that they are all just kids and most likely have backgrounds that we can't even imagine, will help a lot.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
Through the career fair at Iowa State

I landed this assignment by...
I visited the career fair, emailed the guy whom I spoke with at the career fair, and then got set up with an interview and accepted!

I wanted this experience because...
I worked at Childserve last summer with children who had physical disabilities and I wanted to experience the other side of the spectrum and work with children who are experiencing a mental health diagnosis.

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