Dater Foundation Success Stories

Xavier University Summer Internship Program

Xavier's Summer Service Internship Program is truly a win-win program.  Participating Xavier students win by working in a paid summer internship at non-profit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area.  The non-profits win because they reap the benefits of having bright, energetic college students contributing to their organization. 

In 2008, 20 college interns provided a total of approximately 6,000 hours of service to 20 agencies.  The Charles H. Dater Foundation awarded a grant of $16,000 to fund stipends and expenses for six interns who worked in agencies that serve children. 

These interns, who were placed at Cincinnati Recreation Commission (Division of Therapeutic Recreation), Kennedy Heights Art Center, Peaslee Neighborhood Center, Project Connect, Stepping Stones Center and VISIONS Community Services, served more than 115 youth over the nine weeks of the internship, for contact hours totaling almost 31,500. 

Evan Werk, a graduating senior from Loveland, O. who interned at Stepping Stones, wrote this summary about his experiences experiences and entitled his paper "A New Beginning."

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end, right?  Well, at least it is a lyric from a popular 90’s song (the artist’s name slips my mind).  The lyric seems appropriate as I look back on the summer.

I started the summer looking forward to learning and challenging myself, and I found that to be exactly what happened.  And now I get to use what I have learned and start anew with a better understanding of both myself and a new population of people.  A new beginning means that I can go about this new school year with a clearer outlook on my own life.  I can use what has come from this end of an amazing summer and apply it to my “new life” from now on.  I call it a new life because I am able to see things in a new light, from a new perspective that was not apparent to me before this end came.  It is a chance to apply a new perspective on all I do, and to see things in a different way.
I have changed in many more ways than just a new perspective though.  I find myself being more aware of my language and evaluating my treatment of all others, and not just those who have disabilities like the young people I encountered at Stepping Stones.  I expected to have a better understanding of people with disabilities, and it came as I realized that there is no “special” way to treat those who have disabilities, but instead, it is more important to just be yourself and accept yourself while accepting others.  You don’t need to be different, just open.  This helped me be aware of myself in other situations as well, since this new realization is useful in all of my relationships with others.  I don’t need to change myself when I am in relation with people who are different from me.  Rather, I just need to be willing to be honest about who I am, not be afraid to ask questions, and be willing to learn from anyone that I come in contact with.
I think that is the biggest realization I had came between the mid-point and the end of my summer experience.  In many ways I had the same experience and learned more of the same things that I talked about halfway through the summer.  The staff  became continually accepting and helpful.  I came to love all of the people at Stepping Stones, and am planning on continuing my work there for an additional week.  I will deeply miss camp.  The voices and faces of the people that I have met will stick with me for some time to come, and I hope that I can continue my relationship with Stepping Stones.

In fact, I have thought about how I can use a career as a doctor to continue my relationship with SSC, and I think that it will be possible.  This summer has meant a lot to me in my personal and professional development, and will only serve me well in my future.  I will better understand people in my daily life, both as a professional and as a human being. I  cannot wait to see how it has affected me, because I know that I won’t fully realize what has happened until later, but as of now, I feel that I have changed for the better … all due to an impactful, challenging and fun summer … thank you so much.

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