Internships


The goal of our internship program is to provide each student with a broad overview of the multi-faceted services provided at AIDS Project Worcester. As a part of the internship experience, you will be able to shadow APW staff in various departments, including Mental Health, Triage, Case Management, Nutrition, and Prevention and Screening. APW will understand and implement the mission of the agency and serve those infected and affected by HIV by helping consumers to live healthy, productive lives. Please review the listing of departments and let us know where you would like to focus your energies.

 

An internship at AIDS Project Worcester requires the following:

For additional information or questions, please contact Tricia Price, Director of Program Support Services, at (508) 755-3773, Ext. 15, or email her at tprice@aidsprojectworcester.org.

 

Areas of focus include:

 

Case Management

A case manager provides support, education, referrals, advocacy, and assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS and their affected family members. An intern who works with a medical case manager might help consumers access services,  coordinate service delivery, and increase continuity of care. Areas of service include housing, nutrition, GLBT support groups, peer, and mental health counseling.

  • Provide short-term crisis intervention
  • Assist with translation as needed
  • Keep current with area service providers’ programs
  • Keep current on HIV/AIDS updates
  • Provide pre- and post-test counseling for persons at risk for HIV
  • Attend regularly assigned meetings and trainings

Community Garden

Interns involved in the community garden assist with maintaining the vegetables and flowers in the garden located at the corner of Green and Gold Streets. Duties include:

  • Purchasing and planting vegetables nutritionally appropriate for HIV positive people
  • Creating a monthly watering schedule
  • Harvesting and weighing vegetables weekly and maintaining a tracking sheet
  • Cleaning vegetable beds and surrounding spaces
  • Researching grant opportunities to support the garden
  • Assisting with writing grant proposals
  • Attending regularly assigned meetings and trainings

Development/Community Relations

The Development Department raises awareness of APW and HIV/AIDS in Central Massachusetts. It researches and applies for grants to private foundations as well as to state and federal agencies. Duties include:

  • Schedule and coordinate fundraising events
  • Update website
  • Work with various staff to tailor grants that will support and augment individual departments
  • Update database and Constant Contact
  • Attend meetings hosted by businesses, the city, or other nonprofits.

Nutrition

The Nutrition Department provides various services to meet the nutritional needs of consumers. A nutrition department intern will:

  • Assist with weekly shopping at the Worcester County Food Bank.
  • Sort and stock food bank shelves.
  • Assist with the distribution of food boxes.
  • Assist with congregate meals during special events.
  • Assist with doing surveys with consumers.

Prevention and Screening

An intern in the Prevention and Screening Department will:

  • Prepare educational materials and packets for distribution to high-risk communities
  • Shadow staff phlebotomists as they perform HIV, HCV, or STI screenings
  • Update database and data entry for testing and outreach activities
  • Shadowing community-based HIV counseling and testing and group educational interventions

Testimonials

Midori Morikawa, Clark University:

“So what do you want to do today?” was what the prevention and education coordinator at AIDS Project Worcester asked me every morning. In my view, APW was a place where they would give you opportunities to pursue what you want to do. Whether it was doing counseling and testing, see some clients, or doing some data-analysis, you were free to do what you want, regardless of your status at APW.

I thought I came in at APW with moderate amount of knowledge about HIV and AIDS. I took a class on AIDS in Africa in my college; I read articles on AIDS every now and then on major newspapers and magazines. When I lived in two developing countries, AIDS was an everyday issue. Yet APW taught me something else: how to interact and deal with people who are living with HIV. It simply just wasn’t providing them with proper medications and referring them to doctors. It was about listening to them, talking to them and really caring for them. A case manger would drive for one hour just to see her patient for five minutes. I would witness her feeding her client who is too sick to feed himself. I asked her one day how she does what she does. She simply said, “Because they all deserve to be loved.”

A friendly and positive attitude of staff members at APW was made possible with their working environment. People at APW know how to make you feel comfortable. People would stop by at each other’s office just to say hi and see what’s going on. I would occasionally hear them laughing in the hallway. People would ask me how I am doing and they would actually wait for an answer. It was completely different from the working environment that I have imagined.

APW also gave me an opportunity to attend trainings in Boston. I was trained for fundamentals of HIV/AIDS and Counseling and Testing. When I came back, I was shadowing staff members on counseling and testing. I also shadowed many clients. I was struck by how clients at APW were positive, friendly and outgoing. I strongly believe that positive atmosphere created by the members of APW is helping clients deal with their diseases.

Overall, my experience here at APW was incredible. Hopefully, I can come back here in the fall to learn more.”

 

Jen Barkley, UMass Medical School:

 

“It’s not always that an intern can say this, but as I write this on my last day at AIDS Project Worcester, I am truly sorry to see my internship ending. This summer at APW was an experience of education, enlightenment, self-reflection, and growth. I was surrounded by a dedicated, passionate, hard-working staff and an equally friendly, welcoming, and inspiring clientele. I will never forget the sense of hope and wonder that fills the air at APW – although many clients still struggle, lots of client have come to accept their HIV status and really are “living with HIV”(or, as one woman put it, “No, HIV is living with ME!”). I began to understand some of the complex physical, social, and emotional issues surrounding HIV…and I have a much better appreciation of how much more there is to learn.The best part of my internship was my interaction with people – both clients and staff. The diversity of culture and experience at APW made my internship richer and more meaningful. The open-mindedness and hesitation to judge that I saw at APW were refreshing as well.

As a medical student, I expected to like counseling and testing, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed finally talking openly with people about what are important, but often taboo, subjects. And the relief and happiness of receiving a negative result was contagious to me – as was the pain of a positive.

I also worked in the Food Bank – an incredibly satisfying experience of helping people right away with something concrete.

The highlight of my internship was shadowing the mental health staff and attending counseling groups. Listening to the stories clients tell – some hopeful, some angry, some sad, some triumphant – spawned interests and took me in directions that I didn’t expect. I came to appreciate the complex connection between HIV and substance abuse, and I developed an interest in mental health counseling that was a surprise to me.

Overall, my experience with APW was a positive one. I will take what I learned here with me throughout my career. Thank you to everyone at APW!”