Hands of Hope Interns are the individuals on the front lines providing patience, love and time to the children that look to Casa for safety and hope. Throughout our 36 year history, approximately 450 interns have contributed to the mission of Casa de Esperanza. We recently reached out to our past interns through a survey to find out where they are now and how their time at Casa de Esperanza impacted their lives. The results are inspiring, motivating, and give hope for the future.
How did your time at Casa de Esperanza impact you personally and/or professionally?
"My husband and I both volunteered at Casa. Casa was a powerfully influential experience in our lives. Our time spent with the various pediatricians, occupational therapists and the like inspired us to pursue careers in health care. I became a NICU nurse and my husband became a Family Medicine doctor."
"Being a Hands of Hope Intern impacted me in many ways, both professionally and personally. I've been most surprised at how much the experience impresses prospective employers, even for jobs that are very different from childcare. At every job interview I've gone to since leaving Casa, the interview panel has spent more time discussing my experience there than any of my other experiences. At first, they ask about it because it's such a unique experience to have and they're really curious about it. Once I start talking about my time at Casa, they are inevitably impressed with the strength my Casa-grown skills and quickly see ways those skills can transfer to the job at hand. Usually, they are most impressed with the project management, time management, and people management skills I gained. I think talking about my time at Casa in job interviews has also made me a much more memorable candidate because the interviewers’ emotions are really engaged as they think about the vulnerable children Casa helps. While my experience at Casa is the strongest thing on my resume, it’s also impacted the health of my relationships in my personal life. Taking care of abused and neglected children is a highly emotional experience, and in this situation, I grew a lot in my ability to not take people’s choices and actions too personally. At Casa, every time a child acted out or did something that frustrated me, I had to make the effort to see those actions as grounded in their personal life experience and not in their relationship with me in order for us to have a positive relationship. But it’s not just abused and neglected kids who make bad or unsafe or frustrating choices from time to time; we all do it. Having had so much practice viewing choices and actions from this perspective at Casa has really helped me relate better to all the people in my life."
"During my time at Casa de Esperanza I made many trips to various medical appointments for the children in my care. I recall instances where these children were helpless and afraid, and it was the nurse who first helped calm their fears, as well as my own. I saw first-hand the value of a knowledgeable, empathetic, and compassionate nurse who made us feel comfortable in the most vulnerable situations. It was during these moments that I really saw what an impact nurses, and the entire medical team, make on not only the children they treat but also their caregivers. Now as a nurse in the Pediatric ICU at Texas Children's Hospital, I use my experiences from Casa on a daily basis by comforting my young patients as well as their caregivers."
"The experiences I had at Casa sparked my interest in trauma-informed care. Because of this, I took a job teaching at a “Restorative Practice” school, where many of our students have had adverse childhood experiences. I often relate my students’ experiences to those of my Casa children and believe that this has made me a better and much more understanding teacher."
A Favorite Memory during your internship
"Living and working with other young professionals to care for one of the most vulnerable populations is something I will never forget. Holidays were really special at Casa. Even though many of us were away from our families for the first time, we managed to make it feel like home during those times. I remember several houses getting together in a garage for Thanksgiving dinner, and seeing one of my kids smile for the first time since she had been there. I still have that picture up in my room 5 years later. I also remember walking through our house with my fellow houseparents on Christmas morning, singing a Christmas carol as we woke all of our kids up. Getting to share the traditions that we grew up with, and to see the response of joy from our kids that day, was pretty priceless."
"My time with the kids. Reading stories, singing songs, and just overall time with the kids and making a difference in their lives. The memories I made at Casa are always in the back of my mind."
"Being on the receiving end of love from children who just needed someone willing to love them unconditionally."
Type of service pursued post internship
"United States Peace Corps Agricultural Volunteer"
"Teaching students with neurological disorders."
"I am a foster parent again, I work with higher functioning special education students at a high school, I worked at a treatment recovery community with the kids and parents."
"Assistant to the Director of BVS, Orientation Coordinator"