Each year, Lydia Place helps hundreds of local families break the cycle of homelessness, and each quarter, Lydia Place offers students and those interested in pursuing new fields of learning, internship positions that help to support their work and mission.  Internships range from human services, to marketing, to retail management. Internships offer the opportunity to gain real world experience, while working in an environment that is meaningful, and fulfilling.

Meet Izabel “lzzy” Jo, a nineteen year old Stanford University student who spent her summer interning with Lydia Place. Izzy worked as part of the Community Re-Housing Program. She spent her time working with Case Managers Hannah Vandermay, Janelle Barton, and her supervisor, Jeremy Caplan. From her first day at Lydia Place, Izzy had the opportunity to put her classroom learning into practice.

As she prepared to head back to school, Izzy reflected on her internship experience, “With Jeremy and other Case Managers in the CR Program, I had the opportunity to help with weekly and monthly client home visits, unit inspections, massive filing projects, and ultimately had the chance to chance to support staff and clients become housed. Along the way I learned so much about Lydia Place, where the funding comes from, and the inner-workings of a non-profit housing agency,” Izzy stated.

Izzy had a unique connection to Lydia Place, being related to a family that received housing and support from Lydia Place in years past. This motivated her to want to find a way to reconnect with the agency in a way that supported the mission, and fulfilled her personal and professional goals. The Lydia Place Internship Program offered Izzy this opportunity, and allowed her to see the inner workings of a social service agency, and serve others vulnerable families. Izzy recalled, “I was looking to serve at a non-profit and Lydia Place seemed like the perfect way to work, express gratitude, learn, and humble myself.”

Izzy approached her internship with an intense desire to learn about the cycle of homelessness and the role Lydia Place plays locally. “Today there are so many assumptions and stereotypes about what homelessness looks like and means, what you should think if someone is homeless, and what you should do. Most people do not know what the reality of not having a home looks and feels like, they only know that they are made uncomfortable when they see people on the street asking for money,” she said.

The highlights of her internship came in small moments each day. Izzy said that she was able to see how impactful the program and services are,and what a tangible difference Lydia Place makes in the community.

“The product of this work is a collection of stories of struggle, redemption, frustration, and gratitude. On any hard day you will always be able to look back on the stories of success that were written because of you, and know that what you are doing has meaning. The best part of this internship was getting to feel like I contributed to some of those stories, and Lydia Place’s mission to end homelessness,” Izzy said.

Interns play an important role at Lydia Place, not only benefiting the organization and clients, but also providing valuable experience to those participants. Internships can range from one to two quarters and are available in a variety of departments.

For Izzy, her expectations and hopes for her internship with Lydia Place perfectly matched her experience. “Everyone at Lydia Place is passionate about their work and it was so inspiring to see how people with passion make a difference. Looking back on the internship and what my goals were, I believe I got out of it everything I wanted and learned so much more than I expected.”

Lydia Place is currently accepting applications in a variety of departments including: Volunteer Coordination, Mental Health, Family Services, Community Re-Housing, Community Outreach and Wise Buys. To find out more about available internships at Lydia Place or Wise Buys, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lindsey Vis at lindseyv@lydiaplace.org, or call (360) 671-7663 ext. 1000.