Dixon Family Services and Solano Community College Have Been Partners For Many Years
Solano Community College offers a certificate program and an AA degree program for those who plan to work in the Human Services field. Many students who plan to pursue a 4 year degree in Social Work can also use the Solano courses towards that end when they transfer to Sac State or other colleges.
One requirement of Solano’s program is to do internships at businesses that provide human services. One such placement is Dixon Family Services (DFS) and through the years it has been a blessing for our organization to have the helpful students who are eager to learn and grow in their fieldwork placement.
This semester DFS has two very capable and proficient young ladies, Stephanie Medina and Ashley Barber. Both began putting in their volunteer hours in February and will be with us through April. They have been keeping the rest of us on task with our Basic Needs Program and with our Information and Referral services. If you have called DFS recently you probably got a very pleasant and empathetic answer or return call from Stephanie or Ashley.
We have been very busy with our services for low-income households struggling to meet their most basic of needs such as rent, utilities, food and other necessities. Covid-19 created a new layer of need for many who lost jobs were lost or had their hours severely reduced due to business closures mandated by the government restrictions. Many of the people we are helping now had never needed assistance before Covid.
Stephanie and Ashley could not have come to us at a better time. They are helping us keep up with a high volume of calls for help, information and navigation of application systems. They have also been working with case managers to summarize closed case files, do brief assessments, schedule appointments and explain what documents and other information will be needed at the appointments. They are also helping us distribute bags of groceries.
They are sometimes able to sit in and “shadow” during case management appointments. This is a term we use when clients do not mind for a student to be in the room to listen and learn. Watching a seasoned staff member helping people with their various situations in person is very effective and meaningful. They have already learned a lot from their Solano courses in case management, counseling, group facilitation, diversity and others. Getting to work with actual clients and learning from real experience is a step above role-playing in the classrooms. Those in charge of Solano’s Human Services Department know this and it is why the field placement courses are required.
Stephanie is planning to transfer to Sac State next year to achieve her Master’s Degree in Social Work with an eventual goal of being a Master Social Worker (MSW). Her area of interest is in neonatal; to help new mothers and their families with support and guidance they need to ease stress that comes with care of a newborn.
In her own words, “My experience at DFS has helped my communication skills in the social services environment, improve in the way I speak with clients who are in need, to make them feel comfortable. The knowledge I am receiving from each staff member has been very helpful.”
Stephanie went on to say “Being an intern at DFS has given me a glance of what to expect for the career I am choosing, actually experiencing it firsthand. Helping in any way I can whether it be a simple phone call with information, especially during these Covid times, or distributing food makes me even more excited for my career path in social work.”
Ashley also had some things to say about her placement at DFS and her planned future in social work. “I am currently pursuing my Associates degree in Human Services at Solano Community College and plan to transfer to Sacramento State to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In the future I would love to pursue counseling and open my own private practice for Family and Marriage Therapy, amongst other things.
My experience at DFS has been very informative and educational. I’ve been given the opportunity to learn practical and professional skills, as well as develop a greater ability to interact with multiple individuals with diverse sets of needs.
I love being able to grow my skills at DFS while also helping individuals receive the aid and hope they’ve been needing. Knowing I get to play a role in others achieving their goals is extremely encouraging and serves as a great reminder of why I want to continue helping people!”
I always explain up front to students considering an internship at Dixon Family Services that they are sure to see and hear a wide variety of situations and reasons for people to need human services assistance during their time with us. Once you have been a member of Team DFS, you are forever considered part of the family and we will want updates on your career and personal milestones as you go on with your life.
Some interns at DFS have taken paid positions that have come open while they were doing their field work. A huge percentage of all DFS interns from all colleges and universities have gone on to successful careers in mental health, substance abuse, senior care, veterans services, administration and other areas of social work. They are working in hospitals, schools, large private agencies and in many different government facilities making a living at what they love to do – help people.
DFS is proud to know that there are many great Social Workers now in successful careers and look back at their time at DFS as enriching, important, educational, and supportive at a time when they were charting out their futures. We know this because we hear back from them often. Like I said before, they become part of the family.