Please provide any comments, reactions, criticisms etc...they are very much appreciated.
Growing up in a single parent household, constantly dipping just above or below the poverty line was one of the most difficult aspects of my childhood. At the age of twelve, I had to become a parent figure for my then five year old brother; I got a job when I was fifteen, helping my mom pay for what her income and food stamps could not. It all seemed very unfair at the time, but looking back it helped me become the person that I am today; it taught me about independence, hard work, and has motivated me to succeed.
My situation growing up forced me to become independent at an early age. I found myself paying for almost everything myself from my first paycheck at the age of fifteen until now; from clothes to a cell phone to a vehicle and finally to a college education, if I wanted it, I had to earn it. At the age of fifteen I was opening my own bank account and filing my own taxes. It was something that I grew accustomed to; an independent lifestyle and working hard for what I wanted, and these experiences have lead me to a passion of working with children in similar economic and social circumstances.
I had the opportunity to follow this passion during my junior year at XXXX University, through the XXXX Program. The project, a European Union - United States consortium between four domestic universities and three foreign universities, all in different countries, is funded through a grant through the Atlantis Program and the U.S. Department of Education. My experience consisted of a semester long study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain, completing coursework in international social services coupled with an internship at a social service agency. At this agency, XXXX Agency, I had the opportunity to work with immigrant children living in Barcelona who were in poor socioeconomic situations, providing after school support services. I worked with children from Morocco, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Romania, among others. What began on the first day with children swearing at me, spitting on me, and punching me as a new intern ended in a tearful goodbye between the group of children and myself. I grew close with them over my time, and though I was sad to go, I know that my experiences growing up allowed me to relate to these children in many ways. More importantly I was able to leave knowing that I had a positive impact on the lives of these children and hopefully their futures.
Coming back from Spain, I continued to seek new experiences where I could continue to help in a similar way, and sought out an internship at the State of XXXX Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with Child Protective Services, where I have had the opportunity to work collaboratively in an initiative called XXXX Project. XXXX Project was developed in order to bring together all possible resources to keep children safe in their homes and communities, and to provide services with a prevention focus, to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this program I work collaboratively with local law enforcement, parents, local school officials, DHHS caseworkers and many local social service providers. I attend bi-weekly neighborhood team meetings where I am able to give a university student perspective on issues faced by the community and participate in active discussion regarding what can be done to combat these issues. I conduct child and parent interviews to determine child safety, and facilitate family team meetings to determine family plans for child safety. Though I cannot necessarily see a direct impact of my work through XXXX Program, I know that the hard work that I put in contributes to making a difference in the community and in the lives of these children, and I am proud of that.
My experiences growing up have shaped me into who I am today and have lead me to follow a passion for helping children. I have a similar passion for the law and intend to finally follow that passion in the near future by obtaining a legal education and eventually pursuing a career in law. Growing up in an independent lifestyle and in an economic hardship has taught me the value of independence, time management and hard work, all things which will be invaluable when confronting the hardship that I will soon face in obtaining a legal education. It will be just that, a hardship, and I will be confronted by obstacles that are financial, mental, and emotional. Confronting similar obstacles growing up has taught me something very important: if I want it, I have to earn it; and I intend to do just that.
Last edited by kdoyon812 on Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.