July 10, 2012
Addie Larson, a junior from St. Louis, Missouri, is interning this summer with Peer Solutions, a non-profit organization in Phoenix, Arizona. She serves as a creative writing program leader for Stand & Serve, an initiative that promotes equality, respect, and safety to prevent sexual and domestic violence. Addie introduces middle school and high school students to a variety of different writing genres and then allows them to practice on their own. A creative writing and sociology major, her internship is supported by the Hirsch-Zucker Non-Profit Endowed Fund and the Richter Scholarship.
What has been the best part of your internship so far?
The coolest thing about the internship so far is watching the students go off and write in their journals and then share to the larger group. It is so amazing to watch them take what I just taught them and put it into practice and get so into it. This past week I introduced the students to found poetry, and several of the students did not want to stop writing. It's really rewarding to see them get inspired and to watch their passions grow just like I hoped they would. I am very passionate about writing and using it as a healthy outlet for expression, and it's amazing to see my passion rub off onto the students. They are all special and unique individuals.
Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom and/or out-of-the-classroom experiences at Knox have benefited you in the internship?
The Developmental Psychology class I took winter term of my freshman year helped me a great deal in planning my part of the summer curriculum because it helped me bring perspective, developmentally, on how to present the writing to students. Another in-class experience was the Contemporary Social Issues class and Urban Sociology class I took this past spring term. These two classes opened my eyes to ways of life that are completely different from my own, as well as people, which go through different experiences. It brought me down to a level that makes me more confident to approach the students who are on all different walks of life. Additionally, my social life at Knox helped me a lot for similar reasons. I have been introduced to, and made friends with, all different kinds of people, and these experiences have made it easier for me to come in and lead the program with a bunch of people I do not know.
How do you think this internship will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.?
This internship is pretty much exactly what I plan to do with my future. Through my creative writing and sociology major, I want to move on to graduate school and eventually get my Ph.D. in sociology. I want to then open a clinic for at-risk youth and use creative writing as a main form of therapy. This internship is really helping me begin to develop the kinds of programs I want to provide for students, and it is also teaching me how to run a successful non-profit organization.
What inspired you to pursue the internship?
It was a great opportunity to get experience in the field of work I want to do after school. I knew that this would really help me shape my future career in the best ways possible. I knew I would learn so much, whether it be how to run my own programs or to choose a different career goal. I am just so lucky that this has reinforced my choice to eventually open my own non-profit.
(Below Left: Stand & Serve students create community norms -- instead of rules -- on how to treat others and be treated inside and outside the program. Below Right: A Stand & Serve peer educator helps one of the students personalize the journal/sketchbooks that Larson provided for everyday writing, journaling, and drawing.)