Monday, November 3, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Bergamo, Alpha Program

Sara Bergamo is a University of Delaware student spending 400 hours interning with BCI Alpha. In the following Volunteer Spotlight, she talks about her experience in her own words:

I first heard about Brandywine Counseling from a friend I went to school with, who said that BCI was always looking for help from volunteers. I decided to do my internship at Brandywine because I would like to work in the substance abuse field in the future. I liked the clinical aspect of this work and the ability to form therapeutic relationships with clients. I thought volunteering at Brandywine would be eye-opening and a great experience.

Before starting at BCI, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous because of the stigma that is sometimes attached to this type of work. After starting here, I learned what a great environment BCI is. Everyone who works here is nice, helpful, and very appreciative of the hard work that everyone does. The clients are honest, understanding, and receptive. Brandywine is a very caring work environment. You can really tell that the employees love the work they do and care about both their clients and one another.

While at BCI, I worked in the Alpha building with the outpatient treatment program. I helped counselors write treatment plans, discharge summaries, and progress reports. I also briefly met with clients when their primary counselors were not available, and helped run group sessions. My experience at BCI has been a great one. I’ve learned so much about how to help and reach out to clients. It has opened my eyes to the world of addiction and how difficult recovery is. Talking to people and learning about their experiences, hardships, and triumphs has proven to be incredibly rewarding.

I will take a great deal from my experience at BCI. While this started as an internship to learn about a career in drug and alcohol rehab, it became so much more. Everyone who works here has been patient with me, and has helped me learn a lot. The thing I will most take away from my time here, though, are the bonds that you form with people. Learning about clients on an individual basis has been great, and being able to ask things like, “How are the kids?” or “Did you move into your new house yet?” gives a feeling of connectedness that can’t be matched.

Getting involved has given me a sense of accomplishment and happiness. It feels great to know that I have been able to use my time to benefit both myself and others. Brandywine has truly been a great learning and growing experience, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to work with the staff and clients here.

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