National Internship Day!

It’s National Internship Day! Meet Anna Butz–a bilingual, a parent, an Iowan, an educator, and once again, a student!  Her robust love of learning and discovery led to her obtaining her Master’s in Education, but she’s not stopping there. Anna shared her talents as a Women’s Services Intern at Catherine McAuley Center in conjunction with her pursuit of a degree in Human services. Read on to learn more about Anna’s experiences and accomplishments!

Where are you from, and what is your background? 

My name is Anna, I’m 30 years old, and a single mom. I went to high school in Mt. Vernon, and went on to gain my Master’s in Education in 2018 from DePauw University. As part of my education I spent 6 months in Colombia, and have worked in higher education at Cornell College since graduating. 

In January I began taking coursework pursuing a Human services degree. 

What was your first experience with volunteering your time to an organization or a cause you cared about?

I grew up in an agricultural  background, did 4H, and when I was in highschool I volunteered at the Democratic caucus. When I was in college I volunteered as an English Tutor at the Center, did an internship with Justice for Our Neighbors. 

What drew you to become an intern at CMC? 

Field experiences are a required part of my Human Services coursework over a summer, and this was a way to make that happen. My family is from Cedar Rapids and had connections to the Center, so we reached out to Paula and Katie via email wanting to do field placement, and I was directed to Women’s Services.

 I just loved it! I really enjoy working with women and adults. I’ve taught kids, teens, adults, so I’ve had a lot of experience, but I found that I love working with women and adults the most. I’m interested in getting my certified drug and alcohol counseling certificate. 

What is your favorite thing about serving and working with the community that you do? 

I just loved it, I loved the people I worked with, and I am figuring this out at 30. I really enjoy the women being honest, and I really like that. I like being real with them. I’ve experienced a little bit of, and I have an ability to relate to them at some levels. I really enjoy talking about substance abuse, and started a support group for friends of family of people facing substance abuse challenges.  

I think that I hadn’t had a lot of experience working with homelessness, and that was really great to have experience with that. I like being able to sit down and talk about things with the women. I was able to practice a trauma informed approach, even if I had only taken one semester of coursework. I was able to apply what I had learned, and I loved that my internship was so hands-on. The WS team had me talking to the women who lived there, I did room checks, stuff that probably 10 years ago would have intimidated me, so I just loved it! I spent time doing what needed to be done, and I learned a ton.

What were some of your highs and lows during your internship? 

People stepping into leadership roles and getting the chance to watch team members practice case management as fantastic social workers. I got to observe them talking with clients and building relationships, learn more about how the Center does things and the role that it has in the community. I just learned so much. 

Working in the Transitional Housing program, and getting that unique experience and social work setting. In individual case management, you are also trying to make sure people get along and it really allows you to have a deeper relationship with them. 

Those sorts of groups where we can talk about our lived experiences, and hey, we’re all different, but we’ve been through this. So finding those commonalities and lived experiences, the challenges of homelessness, all of that is helpful and making for a cohesive group. 

It’s great that the WS team has found ways that the women can connect over a focus of healing, healthy relationships, resume building, etc. 

A few times clients had to leave the program, and that was so difficult. We formed relationships and it can be hard when someone has to go. It was so good to be around during those times of transition, and learn more how to manage a work-life balance. We can’t take it all on.

All of these things were a very useful and usable experience. 

What is your hope for the long term impact of your role and work?

 I would love to work at CMC when I am able to, I really enjoyed it. I worked 10-20 hours a week, in addition to my regular job and being a single parent. Going there did not feel like going to work. I would look forward to it just because I wanted to be there. 

I would like to do more drug and alcohol counseling, and I did some of that. This internship will prepare me to do that work in the future, and learn the challenges, the strengths, the resources available.The Women’s Services team works so hard, deal with a lot, they are on-call outside of work hours, and they deserve to be recognized from their work. By being women-centered and available to the residents during the day, the Center provides something that isn’t available everywhere, and staff are constantly educating themselves to better their services. I think that work that Women’s Services is doing is so important.