Change? Yes We Can, After All

Sara Palmer, Episcopal Urban Intern Program

Though I knew that I would learn a lot during my year in EUIP, I did not expect that it would affect me as much as it has.

My placement this year is at the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic, an agency that works with emotionally and mentally handicapped children in south central LA. I have been working with children since I was in high school, and have always enjoyed the challenges that they bring. These challenges pale in comparison to what I face everyday at LACGC. It would be a lie to say that I enjoy every minute of it, but it would be an even bigger lie to say that I wish I was working somewhere else. I have grown to both love LA and my job and the experiences both have given me.

When I first arrived at LACGC, I was surprised and frustrated with my clients. I had never worked with such difficult children before. I wasn’t respected or listened to. Children no taller than my hip were attacking me! It took a few weeks to get used to the way the clinic is run, but after I felt like I could handle where I was, I wanted to improve it.

I thought the children at the clinic deserved higher quality food, so I set out to develop a menu that would be suitable for them. I looked through research papers, read books, and emailed organizations to find out more about the different recommendations experts have about nutrition for children. I was able to find people who were willing to give of their time to help our clinic improve the menu to cater to our clients. I was worried that perhaps my project would never happen–my mother, who works for the Department of Health of Hawaii, has always told me how hard it is for organizations to change. However, a few months later, paperwork now finished, my little project is a reality. It has altered my perspective that change takes forever, and now I see that things can be different and change can be embraced.

I am extremely glad I took this year off before graduate school, and it’s not over yet! I have enjoyed both my job and living here in Inglewood and I hope that the rest of my time left here will be as eventful.