by Kelsey Connor (Guest Blogger and 2023 Edward Street Intern)
For the past 13 years, Edward Street has hosted several interns, many of whom attended College of Holy Cross right here in Worcester. This year, I was lucky enough to be Edward Street’s 11th intern from the school.
Edward Street welcomes interns from various backgrounds and majors, including Philosophy, Sociology, Education, International Studies, and Psychology, the latter of which I am studying. These diverse perspectives contain one crucial overarching goal that has attracted so many to this organization; the desire to make this world a better place for children, parents, and educators.
Prior to this internship, I always had an interest in working with children, but wasn’t able to actualize what that could look like as a profession for me. That is until now.
I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the field through an internship at Edward Street. I’ve had the chance to collaborate with each member of the team to see the ins and outs of running such an important non-profit organization. Edward Street strives to provide their interns with a diverse portfolio of projects and experience to make the most of the short time spent with them.
Some of my favorite moments of this internship involve outreach and planning for the 2023 Day of Play Family Festival, researching activities and redesigning the Day of Play monthly newsletter, attending conferences and information sessions, visiting three different childcare centers with Edward Street’s Master Teacher Jo Ann Borinski, and attending the Common Start Rally at the State House.
Even though Edward Street’s Day of Play Family Festival was postponed until this September (after my internship is completed), I still look forward to attending the event and seeing the team again. It will be a joy to see the festival and the passion behind it come to life.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting multiple members from various non-profit organizations and coalitions such as Strategies for Children, YWCA, Jumpstart,Together for Kids Coalition,Common Start Coalition, and many more city and state wide. One immeasurable factor I have noticed lies in the passion and positivity among the community members. Their love for children is resounding and the frustration they share due to institutions not allowing children to thrive reassures this sentiment.
Edward Street, as well as every other non-profit organization I have encountered over the past few months, will not stop advocating for families until affordable, quality early education and care is achieved and educators are paid the wages they deserve for the critical work they do.
I have felt a fire ignite within myself, and it is apparent that I belong in the early childhood arena.
I have always known that psychology and mental health work was the path for me. I grew up watching my father battle a darkness within himself, and I ultimately lost him to mental illness in August of 2021. As I’ve grown older and started to understand the mental health crisis this country faces, I’ve realized that the most important focus for me is the youth of our society.
Unnoticed and unrecognized mental health issues, as well as trauma during childhood, have lasting negative effects, so the need for prevention and treatment early on is crucial. Our healthcare systems focus heavily on reactions after diagnosis, but why not focus on prevention at these early stages so they do not reach a level of needing a diagnosis?
It starts young; whether the children can remember specific experiences or not, every event, good or bad, affects them. No child should ever have to grow up to fight these grave battles alone.
As I’ve visited these local early childcare centers, I have continuously heard some version of the same phrase, “We need more of you,” when I express my desire to work as a childhood mental health clinician. Mental health is, of course, just one layer of the larger fight for quality education and care during early childhood that Edward Street advocates for, but it is one that I am incredibly passionate about.
Although my internship has been just a short 13 weeks, I have made memories that will last a lifetime. I will never be able to thank Eve, Jo Ann, Julie, Kim, and Toni enough for this amazing opportunity. The team welcomed me with open arms this summer and their passion and never-ending commitment to better the lives of others has been incredibly inspiring. It has been such an eye-opening experience to be a member of the Edward Street team, and I will never forget it.
If there is one message I would like people to take away from my story and time at Edward Street, it is that there is an advocate in everyone. Your voice matters, and it’s only good if you use it.