Meet Our UW Social Change Interns

When we are lucky enough to have the capacity, our Social Change team works with interns from the University of Washington Masters of Social Work program. Throughout the school year, our interns are a part of our Social Change team and do things like co-facilitate our Healthy Relationships curriculum, build relationships with organizations that serve youth in the Seattle area, and represent New Beginnings at a variety of community events. This year we were fortunate enough to have several interns, and we wanted to highlight a couple of them here. Read on to learn about the wonderful things Jade and Tory created and why they are invested in this work.


Meet our Social Change Intern Jade

Jade (they/them)

Masters of Social Work student
University of Washington
Seattle, WA


What are your investments in domestic violence prevention?

I have seen how DV can impact people and families. The way we interact with each other in community, in relation to each other, and ultimately coming from a place of care is crucial. As critical as crisis and survival services are, our whole system needs to be overhauled and needs radical change. I have grown tired of slapping band-aids on symptoms and not addressing root issues and causes and this is why I have come to really embrace prevention, education, and outreach work in many different aspects of my life.

Are there elements of your middle and high school experiences that shape how you approach this work? (Not necessary about you personally, more just about your school’s/peers’ culture!)

I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my middle and high school experiences and noting just how problematic it was. Those experiences of mine help ground me and give me a reference point to work from when interacting with my middle and high school students. Sometimes I stress out that I’m not providing this curriculum “perfectly”, but then remember that I wasn’t even exposed to some of this really high-level conceptual thinking until college, and we’re talking about this stuff with 8th graders!

What has your favorite part of working in this program been?

Honestly, my favorite part of working in the Social Change program has been watching myself transform and grow thanks to learning alongside the middle school students. That has impacted my own relationships which then has gone on to impact my community. Healthy relationships make healthy communities!

Do you have ideas about your next career steps?

I was drawn to this grad program because I was originally interested in clinical psychology, but after some time in the field and realizing that I was more passionate in working with more marginalized populations and operating from a transformative justice lens which the social work field centers much more so than other fields. I was also born and raised in Seattle, so the prospect of attending school and learning in the context of where I have worked and lived my whole life and seen change over 26 years was exciting. I graduate in June of 2024 and plan on returning to the behavioral health and substance use field and working towards my licensure (LICSW).

What is one thing that you’ve learned in your time at New Beginnings? How will what you’ve experienced here inflect your future career or studies?

The discussions we have about program and curriculum design has given me a lot of insight into more mezzo-level thinking and makes me much more excited about mezzo and macro-level work. I know that I will take that into my whole career, wanting to integrate that higher-level thinking into everything I do, even if I’m simply doing clinical one-on-one work.

Is there something that you accomplished at New Beginnings that you are particularly proud of?

Another MSW intern and I were able to independently implement the Crushin’ It Curriculum at South Shore K-8 this quarter, which was a school that had been on the waitlist for awhile. Without her or I stepping up this quarter, that school probably would have had to wait another semester or year to get the Crushin’ It Curriculum there. It’s a school with mostly BIPOC students situated in a historically underserved neighborhood and school district. I’m really proud of us for being there for these students.


Meet our Social Change Intern Tory

Tory (they/them)

Masters of Social Work EDP student
University of Washington
San Francisco, CA


What are your investments in domestic violence prevention?

I want to have conversations with youth about their experiences and talk about how they can be agents in their school community to work against dating violence. I am drawn to prevention work because I think that it is an essential part of changing the culture around dating violence. Youth are already experiencing all of the -isms [racism, sexism, etc.] and 1 in 3 experience dating violence, so it is necessary that we discuss these topics.

Are there elements of your middle and high school experiences that shape how you approach this work?

I graduated high school in 2014, which makes me feel old just thinking about it! But in my middle and high school, we didn’t learn about sexual harassment or dating violence. We briefly had sex ed, but that was basically to learn abstinence and what happens to your body when you have a baby. It would have been SO helpful for me if we learned about how to prevent or intervene in sexual harassment, and how to notice red and green flags in relationships. And, it would have been good to learn about gender and sexuality in school because it would have saved me a lot of growing pains as an adult! It shapes how I approach this work because I want to learn from youth what’s going on in their lives and at their schools, and talk about ways they can make changes or call on adults to do so.

What does it look like to be an intern at New Beginnings? What do your particular responsibilities include?

First of all, it looks like having Hilary as a practicum supervisor. Hilary is a WONDERFUL source of compassion, knowledge, and care. She validates my experiences in practicum and guides me toward new things I can learn about and explore. In terms of responsibilities, our primary responsibility is to co-facilitate weekly Crushin’ It (prevention) groups in Seattle middle schools. I am at McClure and Mercer. We have a 12 week program, so we are able to run through it twice during our practicum. I then also support the Teen Leadership Council at Robert Eagle Staff, which consists of graduates of the Crushin’ It program who want to spread what they’ve learned with their peers. This session we’ve been crafting a survey for students to share their experiences of harassment and who’s intervened so that we can support school changes! The TLC students are awesome. Last quarter I got to attend WSCADV’s Lobby Days and speak with my local representatives about DV funding. That was an experience that was a bit outside my comfort zone, so I was anxious about it, but after doing it I learned that I actually really enjoyed it and would totally love to do it again. I also shadow one of CAP’s support groups, which is really meaningful and it is healing to witness survivors’ strength. And then all of us interns attend the monthly staff meetings, Social Change’s team meetings, and various trainings and seminars that are of interest!

What has your favorite part of working in this program been?

My favorite part by far has been connecting with the youth. They are vibrant and bring so much to the space.

Is there something that you’ve done at New Beginnings that you are particularly proud of?

I worked on a zine (booklet) for parents that talks about how to support your teen in having healthy relationships. And I am really proud of that! It’s been a lot of work but has been really fulfilling. We worked with the rest of the team to come up with topics for the pages and answer FAQs that parents typically ask in workshops we’ve done.

Do you have ideas about your next career steps?

I wanted to pursue a Masters in Social Work at UW because of the social justice focus and the huge amount of opportunity in Seattle. Social work is a beautiful area of work because it encompasses micro to macro practice from an anti-oppressive lens. I’m not quite sure about my next career steps! My practicum for next year is in the adolescent health program at Seattle Children’s. I’m really interested in continuing work with youth after graduation, so whether that’s in a hospital setting, a school, a community mental health clinic, or somewhere else I am looking forward to it!

What is one thing that you’ve learned in your time at New Beginnings? How will what you’ve experienced here inflect your future career/studies?

I’ve learned that navigating conflict within a group session can actually result in an increase in cohesion and healing. I brought up one time to a staff person that I was worried when a student would bring up a common misconception about dating violence, that it would upset students who had a history of trauma. She told me that that can be true, but it can also feel really supportive because when other peers jump in and respond to that student – explaining the truths of dating violence, the student with a history of trauma can feel really validated and seen and stood up for. So now I try not to shy away from those conversations but actually embrace them.

What I’ve experienced at New Beginnings so far has reinforced in me how much I love working with young people. It has taught me how to have really hard conversations and dialogue across difference, and it has taught me how to take care of myself when I’m also affected by a topic. I’ve gained a lot of group facilitation skills too! I don’t know what my future career holds just quite yet, but my next practicum is in adolescent health at Seattle Children’s and I am feeling ready to bring in all the skills I’ve learned from my coworkers in the Social Change program. I’m so excited to continue my work with young people and in prevention!

What’s something you wish everyone knew about healthy relationships?

That they are healing. Having deep, compassionate, equal, respectful, loving relationships – whether romantic or not – is something that all of us need. They buffer from outside stressors and they are so necessary for our physical and mental health.