Working with a Refugee Outreach Organization in Rochester, New York
To fulfill my master's degree requirements, I participated in an internship with Mary's Place Outreach, a non-governmental organization (NGO) located in Rochester, New York during the summer of 2013. I worked under the supervision of Cara Breslin, the program coordinator for Mary's Place, performing several tasks meant to prepare me for future work in the NGO sector. I completed 140 hours of service beginning June 3, 2013 and ending by August 2, 2013. My main tasks included assisting the program coordinator with identifying New York State ESL Program Certification requirements, teaching an adult ESL class, and employing anthropological research and certification requirements to enhance their existing curriculum if possible. I also tutored school aged-children, engaged with refugees of all ages, and assisted with clerical work as needed. Through these rolls I was able to examine the efficiency of the ESL program, identify many of the challenges confronting volunteers and the administration, and make several recommendations for the enhancement of their ESL program in the future. I began my internship with several objectives that will help prepare me for future work in NGO's and refugee agencies. First, I wanted to learn how programs are planned, organized, and implemented to target the specific needs of refugee populations located in the Rochester area focusing on English as a Second Language. Second, I would learn how the English as a Second Language (ESL) program currently meets the needs of refugees and what structural or academic changes could be made to enhance the ESL program. Third, I wanted to better understand what challenges teachers must overcome when planning curriculum and teaching ESL classes. Fourth, I wanted to better understand the impact ESL programs have on the lives of refugees. Finally, I wanted to explore how the discipline of anthropology can contribute to the non-governmental organization sector specifically refugee agencies and prepare myself for future work with NGO's.