By Karina Gonzalez
When I first started my internship at Taller de José, I felt concerned about how the agency was going to deliver services remotely since the main form of intervention that Taller de Jose participates in is accompaniment. However, my concerns were almost instantly quelled as I came to learn about the new processes they had adopted in order to continue to deliver services to a population in need. As a result, I felt excited, anxious, and motivated to begin the next chapter of my life.
Now, after working in Taller de José for about 4 months, I have learned and grown so much from the plethora of opportunities and experiences I have had. Most importantly, I have learned so much from the clients and community members I have worked with. I have learned how complicated and overwhelming the system is to navigate, and how these services become increasingly difficult to access if one is not a native English speaker. Meaning that the services that were created for the people are not reaching all of those in need of those services. I have learned, through my interactions with clients, how a bond can still be formed between two strangers even on the phone. In this age, of increasingly distanced interactions between others, I found myself avoiding talking with others over the phone as much as possible before beginning my internship. However, this completely changed when I began doing my work in Taller de José where now I can find respite in being able to talk with others even if all I could hear was a voice on the other line.
The resilience and motivation that many clients I work with have displayed, despite being faced with hardships, inspires me everyday to work hard and continue to advocate on their behalf.
Everyday I am honored to work with the staff at Taller de José as they are some of the most kind, hardworking, supportive, positive, and understanding people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Without them, the organization would not exist the same way it does today. I have learned so much from them and continue to learn from them everyday I work here as an intern. In these uncertain times, they have managed to continue to provide services to the people who need it most in a way that works best for them. I look forward to the future where more individuals can have physical accompaniments and I can get to know the clients I am working with on a deeper level. I look forward to a future where more individuals have access to the services that were created for them. I look forward to a future where more services are available to individuals regardless of documentation status. Day by day, the work that I and other staff do brings all of us that much closer to that future and I am hopeful I will see that future soon.
Although physical accompaniment has been significantly reduced out of precaution for both clients and staff, the spirit of accompaniment remains a large part of the work done in Taller de José. As accompaniment is not just physical presence but emotional presence.