Internships at the Well: A Rewarding Experience


“Members drew me to the Well … just the members’ attitudes and their outlook on life, despite their circumstances, and also their sense of unity, their sense of family,” recalls Nyiah, one of the Well Community’s current interns. When she first visited the Well, Nyiah was surprised by the uplifting atmosphere. “Everybody was so happy and so energized. I think they really take this time as a time to really socialize together and build relationships with one another.”

Nyiah was also drawn by the fact that the Well offers regular opportunities for members to gather, especially for the sake of the many experiencing homelessness. “It really gives the members a lot of times to have a safe place to be.”

Working alongside her is fellow intern Tori, who gravitated toward the relaxed but structured environment at the Well. “It gives you a chance to really build that rapport with the members and get to know them on a more personal level.”

This setting has been the place for both young women to gain experience in the mental health field while earning master’s degrees in social work at University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Nyiah is hoping to work as a mental health therapist, and Tori is pursuing a career in criminal justice. Both have been assets to the Well and resources for our members while they engage in hands-on learning.

Though each day is a bit different, the regular rhythms of the Well Community give structure to much of the interns’ time there. At the Well’s Community Life Center, they lead daily-check-ins with members to see how each one is doing, make announcements and lead activities focused on topics such as boundary-setting, anger management and coping skills, as well as fun activities like Tuesday bingo. They also help to serve the meals—a vital part of each program day and, for many members, the only meal they will have on a given day. And they seek to foster communication and connection among members.

They might also be involved in case management, stepping aside to help members one on one with things like food stamps or access to housing. “The members know that if they are in need of a service or something like that, or they’re kind of questioning it, they can come to us or they can go to [Manager of Programs] Alondra,” Tori says.


When asked what she’d share with another student considering an internship at the Well, Tori says, “I would tell them to do it. … It’s very close-knit. … You’ll see the director on a day-to-day basis. You get to know everybody. You know them by name; they know you by name.” She continues, “You always have a group of people—a solid group of people—that you can always lean back on. And I feel like coming in as an intern, that’s always something that I look for because I’m no professional; I’m still learning.”

For both Tori and Nyiah, learning to adapt has been a significant part of their experience at the Well, as have exercising patience and learning not to take things personally when coming alongside members who are struggling. Nyiah advises other potential interns, “Just kind of keep in mind that we all have different things that are going on in our lives personally. … Don’t hesitate or don’t be reluctant to try again tomorrow.”

But, though their roles include helping members on hard days, the “The members make it very enjoyable because of their personalities,” Tori shares. “Most of them are always in a good mood. They’re happy; they’re dancing; they’re singing despite what they may be faced with outside of these four walls. … You just can’t help but smile because they’re smiling and they’re loving life, even with everything stacked against them.”

“They look out for each other,” Niyah says, sharing how she sees members making sure that each person gets lunch and ensuring that others are OK. “It’s just been a good experience for me. … It’s an eyeopener,” she shares, explaining that seeing members’ contentment has helped her to be more grateful for what she has.

“I really like it here. I really enjoy it,” Tori adds. She takes joy in little victories, like helping a member increase the food stamp benefits he receives. “To us that was a really big victory. … I feel like it makes it all worth it. … It’s rewarding being here.”

Posted in
Scroll to Top