SISGI Group Interns work in project teams connecting their academic and career interests and gain critical thinking skills, the ability to develop original products to address social issues and skills in project management and research.
Christian Kelley is in his final semester for his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. He completed his undergraduate degree at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where he also served populations living with developmental disabilities in group home and community settings.
In order to get to know Christian better, we asked him some questions:
#1 What is your motivation behind focusing on Juvenile Justice for your internship with SISGI?
In my experience youth placed in the system, often times for ridiculous “crimes”, fall behind in everything important in life: Social development, education, vocational and career goal development, etc. The system then perpetuates itself and these youth really get the deck of life stacked against them. I feel I could have been one of those kids, I was friends with kids that suffered that fate. I see opportunity for change and justice and I feel that change can come.
#2 What was the most interesting or challenging assignment during your internship?
I loved APYDCON and learned a lot during the many workshops. Learning to find my voice and take risks to lead was a great lesson I learned. I also got a dose of time management training as well.
#3 What would be your dream job?
I would love to be an advocate for juvenile justice and work with establishing detention diversion policy, educational equality, and child welfare reform. I could also see myself running operations for child welfare organizations. I would love to make an impact not just in the lives of youth but in the way society views and serves these youth.
#4 What is one thing you liked about the SISGI Group intern experience?
There are so many moving parts that I feel I am always doing something new and learning something. It is also a great team to be a part of.
#5 What has been the greatest learning so far?
I had a good time working with Service Learning Exchange and using creativity and cooperation to help the project get off the ground.
#6 What was one thing that surprised you about working virtually or a virtual internship?
While you are doing so many things at once (researching issues, utilizing social media, preparing grants and blogs) it is easy to become distracted and lose focus. ALWAYS MAKE A TO DO LIST!
#7 Name one interesting fact about you that you would like to share.
I have been addicted to making playlists in Spotify. So far I have a punk playlist, Queen playlist, late 80’s/early 90’s playlist, and a doo-wop playlist.
#8 How do you hope or plan to use the knowledge from this for your career?
The grant writing piece will be a huge asset to becoming a change agent in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice as there is little money and high need of innovation. The awareness-raising initiative will also be important in garnering support for future initiatives.