This summer has been full of lifelong learning experiences. Working at Taller de José I gained a lot of insight on the issues that our clients go through on a daily basis. I learned that the same issue can affect people differently. I was able to accompany different individuals to the same court building (Daley Center) for different reasons. Some of the cases consisted of divorce, child support, child custody, and more complicated ones as well.
Recently, I had the opportunity of working with a young lady, her name was Silvia. During our first meeting Silvia explained that she was in search of an attorney to represent her in court. Her case was a bit complicated and she was experiencing a lot of fear, and emotional trauma. On a previous court date, she was approached by her abuser and his lawyer. She explained fearing for her life because her abuser was present and she felt defenseless at the time. When the perpetrator and the attorney approached her, she said she agreed to everything they were saying just to end the interaction; she was not listening because her mind was preoccupied by the fear she had for this person.
Silvia and I worked together to call a few different legal agencies until someone was able to offer Silvia what she needed, which was to be represented in court. She asked if I could accompany her to court on her court date because it would help her feel more at ease and more supported. I agreed to accompany her to her next court date.
The day that Silvia was set to appear, we arrived early to court and decided to sit outside. She began telling me that she was thankful for our role as companer@s. She said that we were like the missing piece to the puzzle because we offered what other agencies could not; that is, accompaniments that allow us to walk beside our clients and face obstacles together.
We were able to fill in that empty space she needed to feel safe.
I am absolutely thankful for this experience; I learned a lot of new skills, perspectives, and approaches that I look forward to using in my future as a social worker.