Ashley (Age 16) has been interning with us this week through Holland Christian High School’s “Winterim” program. Students receive credit for interning at a local organization and must complete 30 hours of practical work experience. The purpose for the internship is to offer students exposure in a field of interest which may impact career direction.
Ashley stated she chose Renew for her placement because she has an interest in both, horses and working with special needs individuals. She worked with horses several years ago while her sister leased a horse and she was able to learn about caring for them and riding during that time. She was also on the equestrian team in middle school. Ashley also mentioned that she has volunteered for Ottawa Area Center (a public school serving students with cognitive impairments) in the past.
Two of Ashley’s main goals for selecting an internship with Renew was to get to see “behind the scenes” and help with the kids. She has been pitching right in and has observed and participated in lessons, mucked stalls, helped with barn chores, completed administrative projects, and interacted with students. Her highlights have been sidewalking and interacting with the riders during the OAC lesson. She describes her time with students as “fun and joyful” and she finds happiness simply when watching the students interact with the horses. She stated, “I see how happy the horses make the students and that just brings me joy.”
Ashley appreciates the variety of work in this type of setting. When I asked if there was anything that surprised her about her experience here she said “there is so much paperwork!” She was able to observe a lengthy grant writing process this week in addition to the completion of progress notes for students. (Ahh, the joys of paperwork.)
No matter the career direction she chooses, she realizes that she can always be a part of helping at Renew. She talked to several other volunteers who balance a professional career and volunteering when their schedules allow. For now, she plans to volunteer during our winter session around her school schedule. We look forward to having her spend more time at the barn; make sure to say hi when you see her and welcome her to the family.
We thank you for all of your hard work, Ashley. You get an A+ as an intern in our book! 😊
* A special thank you to Nicole Larsen and Phyllis DeHaan for the photos.