By Joe Alex Vazquez, Social Work Intern Compañero
I remember the first day I came to Taller de José. I was an hour early because I misread the email and I was nervous and did not know what to expect. I was welcomed at the door by Brenda and I was given a little tour. I was shown my mini office, which was my very first office. I was super excited, I even made a video about it just to save it in my memories.
As I started my training to be a compañero at Taller De José, I was thinking to myself, wow this is real now, all the school I have done, now I get the chance to apply what I have learned and get some real-world experience. I came in with an open mind and was ready to absorb everything and learn. As I started to shadow some of the staff here at Taller De José, I started to get nervous because I knew there would be a day that I would have a client and I would have to make sure they get the proper assistance and lead them to the correct resources. Considering this is my first ever experience involved in a field like this, the idea that I was dealing with real people and real-life situations, startled me a bit.
However, over time I was able to become more comfortable and have some confidence in my ability to help others. Before I received my first-ever client, I was moved to a new office and I had the chance to decorate it and make it feel like a welcoming environment for my clients. I had a great time making sure my space felt safe and peaceful for not only myself, but others as well, this process felt very therapeutic.
The day came when I had my first client, and I was not expecting it at all, I felt nervous, and I found myself doubting everything I did. However, I was able to get through it and assist my first client with their court date. Ever since then I started to get more clients and get used to the different procedures that are in place. I felt more comfortable, and I believe that these experiences have solidified some skills I already had, and helped create some new habits that will help me down the line in my professional career.
Overall, Taller De José gave me my first-ever experience in the field of social work and the staff here provided me with great support that will allow me to learn and grow not only as a professional but as an individual as well.