Congratulations Gianna and Shannon!

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Leadership, Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction, Stories

BSW interns at DESK join staff and our volunteer corps in the operations of the weekly Olive Street Pantry program, the Evening Meals program, and the 266 State Street Drop-in & Resource Center. 

Interns undergo numerous iterative trainings, including: de-escalation and crisis management; harm reduction and naloxone administration; area resource and program referrals; child, elderly, and disability-based mandatory abuse reporting; CPR; Connecticut Foodshare civil rights training; as well as many others, depending upon availability and tasks completed. BSW Interns also use weekly supervision time to reflect upon client relations, ethical service provision, therapeutic engagement and intervention, relating theoretical frameworks to real-life situations, and other matters.

We have interns join us from many college programs in Greater New Haven including the Yale Divinity School, Yale School of Public Health, and Southern’s Social Work Program. Here at DESK, we are training the next generation of case managers, social workers, and nonprofit staff, by imparting DESK’s values of client-centered, trauma-informed approaches and a harm reduction philosophy.  We hope to ensure that these best practices are instilled in homelessness services and food assistance for a generation to come. 

Our interns are getting hands-on training on how to employ an empathetic approach with clients in a humanizing, dignifying and respectful manner. They are also getting concrete, task-oriented training in areas such as how to effectively work with a range of partnering agencies to work through a cumbersome network of social services and realize a higher success rate in client outcomes.

Shannon from the SCSU 2023 BSW program describes her experience: “From the minute I stepped into DESK, I knew that I found the right internship. I learned more than I could have ever hoped to learn and was left with the knowledge that many of the other students in my class didn’t get. I left knowing I had made an impact even in the smallest ways. DESK was and will always be an important part of my journey as a social worker, activist, and human rights advocate.”

Interns at DESK are more than students; they are literal lifesavers. As DESK’s Executive Director explained earlier this year, “back in early December, Shannon, and one of our Drop-in Center staff, Aisha, had just gotten off their shift and were heading toward the train station when they discovered a client of ours laid out on the sidewalk in the midst of an apparent opioid overdose. The two of them sprang into action. Just as they had been trained, they assessed the situation, called 911, and grabbed their Narcan kit. For those who don’t know, Narcan, or naloxone, is a powerful antidote that reverses an opioid overdose in process. So that night, long before emergency medical personnel arrived, Shannon administered Narcan in the form of a nasal spray and saved this individual’s life.”  We could not be prouder of our interns and the skills they deploy in such emergency situations.

Interested in interning at DESK? Please have your student advisor contact us at (203) 624-6426 or email, for more information.


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