A Larger Purpose
Undergraduate and Graduate Students
A Helping Hand hosts a Service Learning Internship Program for undergraduate and graduate students interested in medical and healthcare, social work and psychology careers. Our mission is to provide services to help older adults and adults with disabilities in our community live independently – regardless of their ability to pay. Our recent class of Service Learning Interns logged nearly 6,000 hours of service to older adults, assisting with transportation and providing care in the home setting.
Former AHH Interns have successfully launched careers as physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational or physical therapists and public health professionals. Others currently are enrolled at top-ranking schools such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.
You will gain invaluable experience during an internship with A Helping Hand. Internship components and requirements are designed to give interns direct care to older adults and adults with disabilities and prepare interns with our person-first, competitive training model for a competitive market. Our program provides a unique access to agency professionals and seasoned fellow caregivers.
Receive Valuable Training
- General Orientation: Focus on strengthening your skills necessary for working with older adults and adults with disabilities. Topics that will be covered include effective communication, sensitivity to participant needs, adherence to AHH policies and procedures, establishing healthy boundaries with participants, emergency procedures, confidentiality and tips for successful trips.
- Communication and Sensitivity Awareness Training: This hands-on training includes discussion and role-playing to better understand how impaired vision, arthritis and limited mobility may impact day-to-day activities and responsibilities. How does it feel to no longer be able to drive? Or have difficulty accomplishing a routine task? This training involves participants sharing their personal experiences.
- Mobility Training: Interns receive instruction on the safe and proper use of walkers, canes and wheelchairs, as well as how to safely assist a participant in and out of a chair or car. This may include a visit to the Duke Center for Living.
- Dementia Training: Interns gain knowledge about cognitive deficiencies and how to effectively communicate with participants who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and their family caregivers.
Supplemental trainings and agency networking events may vary, but may include information on depression, proper nutrition and fitness, demonstration of adaptive devices for the visually and mobility impaired, as well as first aid and CPR techniques.
How do AHH interns gain direct care experience?
- Engage participants in intellectually stimulating activities.
- Provide escorted transportation to medical appointments.
- Provide assistance with grocery shopping and errands.
- Assist the visually impaired with reading, correspondence and home organization.
- Run errands that would be challenging for someone with reduced mobility.
- Plan and prepare basic meals.
- Accompany participants to social, community and/or religious activities.
- Provide respire care so a trend family caregiver can take time to attend to his or her own needs.
- Interns can provide support in many different ways. Matches are carefully made based on the interest, geographic location and availability of the intern and the needs of each participant.Are you ready to launch a meaningful career in a growing industry? Apply for an unforgettable start to your future.If you have any issues submitting this form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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A Helping Hand
- Provide direct care in an exemplary manner that demonstrates compassion, responsibility and reliability.
- Complete a reflection paper upon completion of the internship.
- Interns may or may not receive course credit. Course credit is initiated and maintained by the student.
- Interns must attend training and complete the minimum number of internship hours (90 hours).
- Interns are required to attend at least 3 community events throughout the internship. Face-to-face networking and community training opportunities will be communicated to the intern class.
- Since we assist individuals in their homes, a car is required in order to provide Companion Care to seniors and adults with disabilities throughout the Triangle.
- We ask that interns be 18 years of age or older as the majority of our services are in private homes with limited supervision.
- A background check is required for all volunteers, companions, interns and staff, and is paid for by the intern.*
*Because of the extensive contact A Helping Hand representatives have with vulnerable individuals, we run a thorough background check on all volunteers, companions, interns and staff. The cost for each background check is roughly $20 per person. AHH will provide a link to this service after the internship interview and a commitment to the program. Your support allows us to reduce the funds we spend on administrative fees and maximize the funds available to assist more seniors.
“The larger purpose of the internship was not helping older adults, but promoting a generation that values intergenerational relationships. With each interaction, I explored how one found meaning in the smallest things, despite carrying the stress of health issues. Every relationship formed instilled in me core values of patience, kindness, and empathy—qualities that I intend to keep as a future healthcare practitioner.”
“Having had the opportunity to work with many patients living in poverty through my clinical experience, I have found that almost every patient is dedicated to their care until something more pressing and stressful comes up, like not being able to put food on the table or being unsure if they can pay rent and get medications. Sadly, this problem does not go away for our older adults, and their struggles often go undiscussed.”
“I decided to pursue this internship because I had very little experience working with the elderly. I had always assumed that I would pursue a career working with children in some form or another after college. This internship has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I feel that I have learned a great deal about not only senior care, but about the aging process in general. I don’t yet know how this will affect my future career, but I know that it will affect it for good.”