College students are gaining career experience and helping to create a safe support environment for the HHS community as interns in student support.
In the SSR (Student Support Room), college interns help facilitate a safe space for students to find support in. Through their internship, the interns are able to work on skills they will need for their respective careers.
The Student Support Room was first envisioned by Restorative Justice Peer Leaders to create a space in which all students feel welcome. The interns play a crucial role in the SSR, as the supervisor of the room Jo Kent Katz notes, “They offer students new ways to think about their situation and new skills for dealing with their emotions.” Not only do they provide students with the resources to cope with distressing emotions and experiences, they also guide students into thinking deeper about problems and how to move on from them.
Interns Elliot Silveria and Tatiana Lakalo are both graduate students from the Smith College School for Social Work Program. Their program placed them in Holyoke High, which they are both very pleased it did. They both strive to make the SSR a space that students can confide in an adult to express themselves.
Going into graduate school, Elliot said that “I was very interested in working with adolescents because I do believe that it’s a time in your life that needs a lot of support.” His goal is to “build relationships with students and create a space that students feel safe in,” which will in turn help build and strengthen his skills as a therapist in training.
Tatiana hopes to give students the tools to work around their day-to-day problems. She said that “As [students] work through their socio-emotional needs, students will be able to tap into their inner strength as they consider behavioral skills that lead to positives outcomes for themselves and their community.” Along with providing students with the skills they need, she said that her goal in the SSR is to “believe in the goodness of any student, administrator, teacher, and staff that walk through the door seeking support.” Through her internship, she hopes to build her therapeutic skills.
With the college interns in the Student Support Room helping students navigate difficult problems and emotions, Holyoke High is lucky to have them. The Student Support Room is in room 319 by the Athletic Office and is available for all students!