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Q&A with Working Fields Intern Caroline


May 22, 2024
We want to express gratitude for our intern Caroline who just wrapped up her time with us this month. We appreciate the commitment, care, and kindness Caroline brought to her work. She truly embodied our values in all that she did. Please join us in congratulating Caroline on her graduation from UVM! We look forward to seeing the impact she undoubtedly will continue to have on her community as she pursues a career in social work. Below is a Q&A with Caroline about her time with Working Fields.

Working Fields (WF): How did you first hear about/connect with Working Fields?

Caroline (C): I first heard about Working Fields during the process of finding my internship placement at the end of junior year. How it works is that we give our professor a list of our top three areas of interest within the realm of social work, and they coordinate a placement based on that. My top area of interest that I listed was criminal justice. My professor kept in contact with me as she searched, and sent me a very excited email when she found Working Fields. She sent me the link to the website and told me that they do a lot of work with people who have been incarcerated. I told her it sounded like a great fit for me and she got me in contact with Daryn (former Working Fields’ Marketing Director). Daryn was super responsive and enthusiastic right off the bat to connect with me and we quickly scheduled a meet up at the beginning of the summer at King St. Laundry for an event Working Fields was doing there. I met Daryn and Carole that day and we talked a little more about what Working Fields is like and the Recovery Coach Academy that I would be completing over the summer in preparation for my internship position. 

WF: What is something that surprised you about Working Fields, or your time with us as an intern?

C: Something that surprised me (in a good way) about Working Fields was the level of vulnerability among staff members and between staff and associates. On my first day as an intern, I had individual meetings with everyone in the office. Several staff members shared with me their own experiences being in recovery and how that led them to this job at Working Fields where they can help others in recovery. This allowed me to feel a level of comfortability and closeness with the staff right away; something that usually takes much longer to develop in most workspaces. Vulnerability was something that I continued to see throughout my time at Working Fields, in Account Manager and Peer Coaches’ relationships with their associates. A lot of the people we work with are in recovery from substance use disorder, have previously been incarcerated, have experienced housing insecurity, among other life challenges that are heavily stigmatized. Because of this it is especially important for us to create a space where they feel accepted and safe to talk about what is going on in their lives without fear of facing stigma from us. When first meeting with a new associate that is in recovery, the Account Manager or Peer Coach usually shares that they are in recovery themselves and a little bit about their own journey if it feels appropriate, in a way that lets the associate know they can relate and will be understanding without making it about them. Starting off with this level of vulnerability sets the tone for the relationship dynamic: one that is genuine and open while maintaining professional boundaries. It was really refreshing to see and experience this dynamic and I wish that all workplaces could be this way. 

WF: What was your favorite part about your internship experience with Working Fields?

C: My favorite part of my internship was being able to meet so many different people at our job fairs and community events. It felt very meaningful to have these first conversations with jobseekers, assess their needs and connect them with our services at Working Fields. Throughout my time as an intern I grew to be very comfortable in these settings and in being able to explain our services to jobseekers in a succinct way. These communication skills will be very beneficial for me going into social work.  


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