Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meet Daniel Szoke, Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault


Last summer, Daniel Szoke had the opportunity to intern at the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center (Z-Center). Without the Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for Internship award, Daniel wouldn’t have been able pursue the unpaid internship to gain valuable skills in community service and advocacy counseling. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to share an excerpt of Daniel’s reflections on the experiences the internship afforded him.

“The Z-Center taught me about believing, validating, and empowering survivors, and these are methods I have already started implementing in my life. I have realized that people all experience trauma differently, but most everyone has some experience with it. When friends and family talk about their trauma, I respond with my new skills, and it seems to be exactly what they need to hear. If I believe what they tell me, tell them what they are feeling is normal, and refrain from telling them what to do, I see positive results.

I am currently entering into my second semester as a FYCARE facilitator. In the FYCARE program, we teach all first-year students some real life statistics about acquaintance rape, debunk rape myths, and give scenarios to help students imagine how they might properly support a friend who discloses their assault. After gathering input from the Z-Center agency staff, I composed and presented a new draft of the FYCARE script, and my changes were approved. I am now the first student author of a section in the script.

I am proud of this accomplishment because it allowed me to take what I learned at the Z-Center, and bring it back to our campus. I am happy to have served my campus, and I have already started facilitating the new section this semester with positive results.

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I have a clearer career outlook, and I feel more prepared for my future. I want to thank the scholarship team at the YMCA, without the work that you all do, I would not have been able to afford to take this internship. I would not have learned all that I have learned. I would not have grown in the way that I have grown. Thank you for all that you do.”

Each year, the Y’s Fred S. Bailey Scholarship Program for Cause-Driven Leaders awards scholarships to students seeking unpaid internships in public service and advocacy fields. Knowing that community-based internships experiences are unfortunately difficult to fund in the public service sector, the internship award was created to further power the potential of cause-driven individuals.

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