Catherine spent her summer working at The Family Center, a non-profit agency based in Helena, Arkansas. While The Family Center addresses a wide variety of needs in the community, her internship focused on domestic violence. She split her time between the office and the shelter, doing a little bit of everything ranging from grant writing and social media to teaching a financial class and one-on-one case management with the women at the shelter. Many of the women Catherine worked with had a history of abuse dating back to their teenage years. Many came from an unstable household growing up, were unable to obtain a good education, and thus found themselves unemployed. Many were previously supported by their abuser, and now that they have found the courage to leave, they find themselves homeless. Homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty are all related. They are all cyclical and generational. Children growing up in a violent, poor, or unstable household will not break this cycle unless something in their life changes. It is no coincidence that children who grow up in an abusive household are more likely to be abusers themselves as adults. If this is what they experience growing up, and are never exposed to anything else, they will believe that this is the normal way of life. Catherine left her internship with not only a newfound understanding of the complexities of poverty, but also with a goal to address them before the cycle repeats itself. She thanks the women at the shelter and The Family Center staff for sharing their stories and wisdom with me.
Catherine also prepared a PowerPoint Presentation of her experience