We Are Knox...
St. Louis, Missouri
Creative Writing and Anthropology and Sociology Double Major
Addie Larson interned with Peer Solutions, a non-profit organization in
Phoenix, Arizona. She served as a creative writing program leader for Stand & Serve, an initiative that promotes equality, respect, and safety to prevent sexual and domestic violence. Addie introduced middle school and high school students to a variety of different writing genres and then empowered them to practice on their own. Her internship was supported by the Hirsch-Zucker Non-Profit Endowed Fund and a Richter Scholarship.
What was the best part of your internship?
The coolest thing about the internship was watching the students write in their journals and then share to the larger group. It was so amazing to watch them take what I had just taught them, put it into practice, and get so into it. I introduced the students to found poetry, and several of the students did not want to stop writing. It was 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 was 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 classroom experiences 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 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. 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 made 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 made it easier for me to lead the program with a bunch of people I did not know.
How do you think this experience helped you in terms of your future plans?
This internship was 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 really helped me begin to develop the kinds of programs I want to provide for students, and it also taught me how to run a successful non-profit organization.
(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 Addie provided for everyday writing, journaling, and drawing.)