When Nicole, a graduate student working toward a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse at the University of Texas at Arlington, heard about The Well Community’s internship program, she was immediately interested. The Well piqued her interest because of its faith-based approach to mental health, which is unusual among nonprofits that help those who struggle with mental illness. Nicole liked this approach, finding that faith-based solutions are often easily and effectively incorporated into people’s lives. For her graduate degree, she needed to complete two internships, and Nicole chose The Well as one of them.
Since January, Nicole has worked as a Well intern. During her internship, she has especially been struck by The Well’s long-term commitment to helping those in Oak Cliff who live with mental illnesses and by the value of providing guidance and a sense of community for people who may not know how to help themselves. Nicole, who was drawn to psychology and social work because of her own struggle with depression, has enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with people rather than working with statistics in a classroom or lab. After her internship, Nicole is open to trying new things. She’s particularly interested in teaching ballroom dancing, hoping to incorporate what she’s learned in her Master of Social Work program into her classes.
Below, Nicole shares about three Well Community members who’ve inspired her.
Well member “D” has inspired me over and over. She’s very perceptive, and from my first day interning at The Well Community, I noticed how observant she was. She has a very sensitive nature, tuning in to how those around her feel. She frequently serves as an advocate for others and even helps to enforce the rules at The Well that are in place to help protect people.
D even makes me feel better when I come in burned out from work. While she prefers to be quiet, rather than speak in front of large audiences, she’s very friendly, shows gratitude and always seems to listen to the people around her.
“T” has continually inspired me as well. He has slept on the street for as long as I’ve known him (since January 2017), but he always manages to be considerate to the people around him—more so than most people I know. Although he has very few possessions, no roof over his head and no job or money, he is so thoughtful of others. This inspires me because there are many times I have become hyper-focused on my problems.
T is not only more thoughtful of others than most of the people I come across, he considers others in a way that’s remarkably refined. He can dedicate a song to someone he’s hardly spoken to, based on his observations and thoughts about them over a period of time. He can give a compliment at just the right time and in just the right way to provide perspective to someone who’s going through something difficult, and can support the people around him, even though he may not have much in common with them. I’ve seen him go through ups and downs, due to his mood or circumstances, but nearly 100 percent of the time he’s kind and supportive of others.
The third person who inspires me at The Well Community is “M.” She could be an event planner—she’s always on top of sending birthday cards for people at The Well, and celebrating special events. She’s quite the talker too, always greeting anyone new who comes through the door and getting to know people’s likes and dislikes so that she knows what they will enjoy on their birthdays. She is so sweet, thoughtful and considerate of others, always offering items she has to those around her. She loves to give and take care of people.
All in all, what has inspired me about all of these people is their ability to be kind, considerate and thoughtful even in the midst of hardship, pain and having less than many others.
Volunteering at The Well is a small commitment that has a great impact on the lives of those who deal with mental illness in Oak Cliff. Think you might be interested? Don’t hesitate to call or email! We would love to answer your questions and find the best place for you to use your unique gifts. Contact us.