I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Editor’s note: the following blog post was written by Ogechi Adele, a 2017 summer intern at youthSpark.

By Ogechi Adele

As an intern, more importantly a 17 year-old intern, I mostly organize, clean, make lists, and support the case managers at youthSpark’s Youth Services Center. In other words, I definitely don’t do any social work. However, what I’ve learned by simply being at youthSpark has been invaluable. Seeing the way new kids are welcomed with open arms and how comfortable the returning ones are proves to me just how loving of an environment this is.

My favorite memory so far has been the time I was invited to sit-in on a staff meeting with everyone who works here. That day’s agenda was testing out a childhood trauma assessment that would be used by the children. Everyone opened up, tears were shed, and hearts were poured out. In that moment, I learned why each and every person was here in this room, working for youthSpark. It’s not for the paycheck or a way to pass the time; they’re here because they personally resonate with each child that walks through our doors. They know personally what these kids go through and invest their whole selves to this cause. For me, it’s been inspiring to see people so passionate about what they’re doing. I am, in turn, impassioned and reminded by why I applied to spend my summer here. You often hear about child abuse and exploitation, but it won’t become real until you become a witness to the victims’ struggle. It won’t become real until you’re actively fighting for these kids. Then, they become individuals and no longer statistics. I feel fortunate to be here because each day, I become more and more invested in this cause and driven to help these individuals. Doing tasks as simple as sorting clothing is meaningful and rewarding for me; I wouldn’t have it any other way.