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Face Time—Praxis Edition


Photo by Roberge

Maria Beatriz Chavez ’09

From: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Major: Economics
Praxis internship: Art therapist with The Arts Incentive Program, United South End Settlements, Boston.

What were your job responsibilities?

I had three different responsibilities. I directed two groups, Fashion Group and the Arts Foundation Group two days a week. I also did case management, which involves working one-on-one with a girl and talking about the problems she is facing. The last one is an art mentor, which consisted of one-on-one work with a girl and doing some kind of visual art activity.

Describe the physical surroundings where you worked.

I worked in different places. I had an office for clerical work (writing reports after each interaction or group) or individual sessions
of case management. I also worked in the art studio where the groups
held art therapy. Last, we had many field trips to different parts of Boston.

What did you wear to work?

I wore casual outfits for work, such as jeans, long blouses, flats. I tried to remain comfortable but professional.

Describe the people you worked with.

I worked with people of all ages. My supervisors (two) and my co-workers (three graduates and four interns) were very nice and helpful.

What did you like most about your internship?

There were many things I loved about this job, but mainly the feeling of accomplishment before leaving. The girls that I treated were very thankful, which made it seem like I had an impact on their lives.

What's your favorite memory of the summer?

The day before I left, I walked a girl "home" (the IRTP at Boston Medical) and she said to me that she wished I would stay because I had helped her. What I loved about this wasn't case managing this girl...she just knew me from group, so the fact that she felt this close to me was really important to me and the best way to end my summer.

What were your living arrangements?

It was complicated. I was supposed to stay with another Smithie in Sudbury, Mass., but after some family problems I had to look for a home. I lived with seven other girls from Northeastern in Mission Hill, Boston, which limited my budget for the entire summer.

Describe your typical day.

Wake up at around 8 to get to work by 9:30. Do clerical work or have meetings until noon and then go to lunch. At 1, begin setting up for the girls that would arrive at 2 or have individual sessions with girls until 3. Have groups or field trips from 3 to 5.

How did you spend your free time?

I had a second job at Jasmine Sola in the Prudential Center, so I barely had free time during my last month and a half. I went to the MFA on Wednesdays for free drawing sessions and I went to the reflecting pond in front of the Christian Science Center to take pictures and draw.

What did you learn from this internship?

This internship was rewarding in many ways. I was able to help people and practice art at the same time. I learned that people who help others are also being helped. You see your life reflected in theirs. You value and are grateful for the things you have and try to find solutions to your own problems, too. I believe that I grew confident, positive, and most of all I became happy with the decisions I've made so

9/5/07   Compiled by Judith Roberge
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