My internship this summer is with the Clark Park Coalition, Clark Park is a 30 acre park located in Mexicantown of Southwest Detroit. I work in the recreation center, which is an old, well loved building in the middle of the park. On my first day there, I could already feel the energy and slight chaos that this organization brings with it. Everyone has a different project going on and I was very much thrown into it with open arms, and I can always tell that they all love the park, kids, and the neighborhood.
What drew me to this organization is that I want to work with kids in order to help them grow and succeed. I plan on going into Social Work with a strong focus on the welfare of children. I think programs and parks such as Clark Park can do wonders for a neighborhood, and I love that the park is so near so many schools, because as soon as the school day is done the whole park is flooded with kids walking home, playing baseball, and playing on the playground. Now during the summer programming, whole families come in to play baseball, tennis, or take part in the photography classes, along with utilizing the free meal program that the park provides.
An interesting challenge within this internship has been finding my place and footing in this bustling environment, which, as I was told by my program supervisor so I knew this going in, is not as structured, and my place is is kind of that of an independent worker in a machine. That’s part of the reason that I decided to take this internship, because it gives me the chance to work on my assertiveness and organization in this space. I’m good at taking initiative, so I think that as I’ve continued to get more comfortable I’ve been able to take this large amount of opportunity and run with it. I remember on my first day that I casually mentioned wanting to help with the tennis program and they let me work lot with the organization, distribution, and running of the tennis program, simple as that. I always look forward to seeing what comes of this organized chaos of Clark Park and its focus on helping nearby kids and families.