My name is Jill Burnette. I am a student studying social work at N.C. State University, and I am finishing up a semester long internship at Church World Service. It is hard to believe that I have been here in this office, with these people, serving these clients for almost four months; the time has passed quickly. I have learned more than I ever could have hoped to learn. From the exceptional leadership and the thorough training I received from my supervisor, to the experience I gained from face time with clients, to the organizational skills I acquired from the filing and data entry I conducted, each and every minute of my time here at Church World Service has helped teach me and mold me into a more well equipped professional. I can say with confidence that I will be a better social worker because of my time here; I have learned so much.
One of my favorite and most rewarding tasks as an intern under Kelly Dent in the Citizenship Program has been the tutoring group I have had the privilege to facilitate. I meet with a group of citizenship students three times a week. These individuals are preparing to take their citizenship exam in the near future. We spend three hours together each week reviewing material that could potentially appear on the naturalization exam. The majority of our effort goes into reading and writing practice, as this is the most difficult part of the test for a large portion of the clients we serve.
I have been given the opportunity to work with the same group of students over the course of my time as an intern. I have watched them grow in competence and confidence as they work hard practicing their English skills in the classroom and individually at home. Experiencing their desire to learn, to grow and to maintain self sufficiency has taught me about true strength and resilience. Experiencing the incredible work ethic that they each demonstrate and the collective positive attitude of the group has taught me about true dedication and has renewed my perspective. A few of the students in my tutoring group have already passed their exam, and are enjoying life as newly naturalized United States citizens! Several of my remaining students have test dates approaching in the coming weeks. I am certain that each of these students have improved their English. They have each grown in their knowledge of United States civics. I am confident that they all have the tools necessary to become citizens of the United States and I cannot wait to see how far they go!