Personal Reflection: My Experience At The Teen Shelter

I spent my summer in a teen shelter. Well, 180 hours of it. As I thought about what to write for my integrative paper I considered writing a research paper; however, a research paper would fail to adequately sum up the full spectrum of my experiences at the teen shelter and so I decided to simply talk about my experiences and integrate research within it. This summer I was an intern for runaway and homeless teen shelter and center with Family Services Incorporated. My job as an intern was to complete 60+ hours of training, respond to crisis phone calls, help with intake paperwork, interact with teens, and participate in and lead group counseling sessions. I was able to experience first-hand what a lot of the research tells us about the of …show more content…
There are several risk factors that are common in teens who are homeless or who will eventually become homeless. During my internship, I saw these risk factors transformed from mere statistics to the faces and life stories of real people that came through the doors of the shelter. The first risk is related to family. Homeless youth tend to come from untraditional, troubled, and dysfunctional families. Children from families who are from a low socio-economic status are also more likely to be homeless (Quilgars, Johnsen, & Pleace, 2008). I cannot recall even a single teen that came from a healthy nuclear family. All of the teens had experienced at the very least separation, divorce, and ugly custody battles that accompanied divorce. Many of the teens had grown up with a single mother who worked multiple jobs to attempt to support her children. Another thing that I often saw was children whose single parent was on disability and could not …show more content…
Homeless teens are more likely to have repeated a grade (Young, Godfrey, Matthews, & Adams, 1983), been suspended, expelled or dropped out of school (Aratani & Cooper, 2015), and have learning disabilities (Barwick & Siegal, 1996). These problems in school can exacerbate and fuel conflict within the family which in turn contributes to the risk of homelessness (Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007). Most of the teens that came to the shelter either had dropped out of school entirely, were at least one grade behind their peers, or experienced severe issues in school including chronic truancy and suspension. At the beginning of my internship I did one teen’s intake and had to obtain her school records to put into her file. I was shocked when I saw that she had missed more days of school than she had gone to in the past year. This turned out to be a fairly “normal” occurrence for teens that came to the

Related Documents