By Guest Blogger Colleen Shortell
Edward Street attracts student interns across vast academic disciplines who share in this nonprofit’s dedication to making our world a better place.
During my own internship search process, I was drawn to Edward Street’s mission amidst a pandemic that turned my own learning experience upside down. I felt compelled to learn about how one can serve a population whose most formative years were so interrupted.
My own internship experience during the summer of 2021
Before starting my internship in June, I couldn’t have imagined how intersectional Edward Street’s work is in the community. I engaged in conversations about how poverty hinders child development, often stemming from inequity and racism, and learned how food insecurity, homelessness, and a lack of educational resources are all facets of such social injustice.
My biggest takeaway from Edward Street culminates with these interconnected issues. I have a much deeper appreciation for the role of advocacy on a local, statewide, and national level that calls out systemic racism in the realm of child development.
As I witnessed the difference Edward Street makes in its community, I also had the pleasure of being in touch with two former interns, Katy Watson and Kylee Sulivan. Their experiences highlight the academic, professional, and social impacts of working with this nonprofit.
Katy Watson: pursuing a master’s in special education
Said Watson, “One of my biggest takeaways was the importance of investing high-quality care and education in our youth.” After her internship ended, she spent her remaining time at Holy Cross working at a pre-school, gaining crucial hands-on experience in the field of early childhood education.
These experiences later influenced Watson’s professional development, post-Holy Cross.
She spent three years teaching Language Arts to children with learning disabilities like dyslexia at The Windward School.
Today, this dedication to early childhood education remains at the heart of Watson’s career aspirations. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Virginia, where she will graduate in 2022 with hopes of teaching at the middle school level.
Kylee Sullivan: municipal public health director
Whereas Watson expressed a connection with early childhood development, Sullivan was intrigued by the city of Worcester’s Health & Human Services department meetings she attended that showcased the conjoined work of Edward Street and the city of Worcester. “A big takeaway for me was the importance of collaboration between local businesses, non-profits, and local/state government,” she said.
Said Sullivan, “My experience with Edward Street opened an unexpected pathway for my current career in municipal government.” She received her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and works as a Health Director in the Town of Dedham, MA today.
To this day, Sullivan continues to reflect on her Edward Street experiences.
“I like to take a step back to think about how my work affects various areas in my community, such as early education.” She recalled the importance of creating partnerships with stakeholders, which “has been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Health Department acts as a resource and guide to the School Department, early education centers, and non-profit community centers.”
Watson, Sullivan, and other former interns, now including myself, carry with us all that our time at Edward Street brought. Whether it be immeasurable exposure to vast social justice issues in our college community or the knowledge of a nonprofit sector that makes strides in enacting change, there is much to be gained from Edward Street.
Holy Cross students, who are dedicated to the Jesuit tradition of being “men and women for and with others,” continue to be drawn to Edward Street. Now reflecting on my 10 weeks spent with Eve, Kim, Rose, Jo Ann, and Toni, I can see why this is the trend.
This team embodies a powerful and positively contagious passion, kindness, and commitment to others that ignites hope and enacts real change in its community.