Nicole Rocco is a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington and is studying social work. For two semesters, through August, Nicole will be a social work intern at alley’s house.
Nicole discovered alley’s house while searching for an internship at school. She found three organizations that she was interested in interning with, but after further research she knew alley’s house was the right fit for her.
“The word ‘empowerment’ is all over the place, and I think that empowerment is what really makes a difference in a person’s life,” she said. “If you empower someone in a few situations, they learn to apply it to other areas of their life as well. Empowerment allows the girls to realize that they do not have to be dependent on anyone or anything but can instead be independent strong mothers.”
As a social work intern, Nicole has the opportunity to shadow alley’s house Executive Director Allison Whitehead during her daily casework meetings. As the semester progresses, she will gain more and more responsibility in the meetings.
“I also work one-on-one with the girls helping them set and accomplish their daily goals,” Nicole said. “If a client has a need, I can look into the community to find resources that might apply to their need or situation.”
Nicole has the opportunity to see many of the challenges that the moms face when they come to alley’s house.
“By coming to alley’s house they are really working towards a better life for themselves and for their children,” Nicole said. “They are often balancing school, work, and their children and frequently come in quite tired.”
She is impressed with the commitment and determination that the moms exhibit on a daily basis.
“Some girls come from far away and spend a great deal of time managing public transportation,” she said. “Despite all the challenges they have, they still get to alley’s house and achieve so much while they are here.”
So far the biggest challenge that Nicole has had to manage is getting accustomed to applying the knowledge learned in her classes to the real world situations that she is put in now.
“I just want to do the best that I can to help the girls achieve their goals,” Nicole said.