A Letter from our Intern

A Letter from our Intern
Master of Social Work
If we believe in divine intervention, we fully understand God orders our steps. I, too, honestly declare most sincere gratitude for the opportunity of invested time with the dynamic group of compassionate and resilient individuals at the Winston-Salem Street School.

I was allowed the opportunity to achieve academic credit, build relationships, coordinate community resources, assist students with social interaction skills, and promote well-being. The students enrolled in this program have secured a place in a competitive environment tailored to meet academic, physical, and emotional needs.

As WSSS’s first Social Work Intern, I was eager but unsure of what to expect serving a new role in an alternative school setting with teenagers. Despite the uncertainties, zero reservations prepared me for the task.

It did not take long to realize the difference between this population and most students who walked away from the traditional setting unable to adequately meet or address their needs. As the world continues to evolve, young people have increasingly more pressure to conform, which is complicated and undesirable for many.

The Street School allows students an opportunity to get back
on track academically, excel in life skills, ask questions in small environments with time and space to evaluate true comprehension with freedom to express themselves. Graduation results, career paths, increased self-discipline, and self-esteem continue to increase with individuals enrolled in the high school and adult programs.

When prompted to take a deeper look into our personal lives absent of labels predicted by our environments, strengths, and weaknesses, the truth lies that we all thrive by the importance of human relationships, a social work core value. We have all faced rejection, isolation, and anxiety, which many continue to deal with daily. We are better together than we are alone. I was tasked with reaching students where they were, addressing their nonadaptive behaviors, and illustrating the importance of acceptance of self and others with coping skills to promote mindful well-being. Each student possesses unique characteristics, some built around various undesirable situations; nevertheless, they persevere with steps to reach their goals. I am thankful for the students who trusted me with their stories, ambitions, joy, and tears. Their exceptional traits, along with the inspiration and empowerment provided at the Street School, help guide them to set and achieve dreams that once seemed unimaginable.

The WSSS administration is dedicated to providing a dynamic multi-purpose academic setting to stimulate the minds of their students. The faculty and staff each hold various years of demonstrating true purpose to enrich and create environments for diverse learning. The numerous volunteers joyously provide their time and support through speaking engagements to interject new and stimulating life paths. Club members who value connections and affiliation bring enrichment and awareness. Professionals and tutors with advanced knowledge share their gifts, along with lunch hosts and food pantry volunteers to ensure everyone is provided the essential element required to stimulate the mind. Additionally, parents and guardians who are perceptive, realizing their child has the potential to succeed if granted an alternative chance to learn and grow, will soon join to celebrate a monumental anniversary of success and achievement.

With the greatest respect and admiration for the students and all hearts and hands involved, the WSSS could not operate in the fullest capacity without the generous and loyal commitment of
the valued donors. We thank you for your continual dedication, community involvement, and financial support. Your contributions guarantee that the program designed to ensure students’ challenges are met with compassion and hardships can be temporarily converted into a safe and non-judgmental environment. As stated by various alumni, this path is guided by a structured, life-changing environment supported by impactful staff in a place they call home.

It has truly been a privilege to work alongside WSSS’s staff and the energetic, intelligent, focus-driven students who, with continual support, guidance, and value, will become educated, wiser, and better equipped to make an impressionable mark in their community and the world.

Misty R. Ellis, MSW Intern
University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Class of 2024

“Izandla ziyagezana”
One hand washes another.
No one can rise without the help of another. — isiZulu proverb