Since welcoming our first three interns in 2006 into our Supportive Service program, LCBH has been host to dozens of students, including the ten interns working with us this year. One factor that makes LCBH’s Supportive Services program so successful is the partnerships we have developed with social work internship programs in Chicago and the greater Midwest.
Our first partnership began seven years ago with the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA) program. Since then our internship partnerships have expanded to include the Masters in Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as undergraduate programs in social work or sociology at schools such as North Park University here in Chicago and Valparaiso University in Indiana. We also partner with two “immersion” programs: the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program. Students participating in these programs come from colleges and universities throughout the Midwest to live and study together as a cohort in Chicago. Part of their experience requires an internship at an agency that serves low-income people.
Without our partnerships with such college and university programs, we would not be able to do either the quantity or quality of work we do for our clients. All of our interns are involved in assessing client needs referred to us by our legal team and then working with these tenants while their legal cases are open. Interns become familiar with the social services available in Chicago and then connect our tenants with resources such as new housing, finding employment, credit repair, and financial literacy education. Our interns learn to advocate for and intervene on behalf of tenants when they face obstacles in working with other agencies in Chicago. Many also work with our legal staff on policy and advocacy issues affecting our tenants.
The thousands of hours these students have invested in LCBH and our clients have been invaluable. LCBH provides a setting and opportunity for students to learn and grow that will end up benefiting many, many other people in need in the future! LCBH’s relationship with these college and university programs and their students is making a difference in Chicago and beyond.