When you love working with young people it shows. And when your drive is to help teens, there can be a huge impact.
Rosa Medina is finding that out as she works with teens at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s Goshen Clubhouse. She started back in August as part of a college internship for her degree in social work.
Medina said she wants to work with teens as her career. She is working with kids who have autism for another organization right now, in addition to the work she does for Goshen Club. She recently shifted her focus and began working with Club teens alongside Director of Mental Health Services Natasha Lantz.
“I’ll still be working with the teenagers, but I’ll get to see a different side of what Boys & Girls Club offers to them,” Medina said.
She said her drive to help teens comes from her own experience growing up.
“When I was a teenager, I felt like I didn’t have any adult I could connect with. I want to try to be that person for them. Boys & Girls Club is giving me the tools I will need to develop skills to connect with the teens. When I get my degree, I’ll be able to use everything I’m learning at Club,” she said.
Even now, Medina said she has been rewarded through her interactions with members.
“I’m studying to work with troubled teens, but I’ve been able to connect with so many other teens through Club. I love creating the bonds with kids that are troubled, but I’m connecting with a wide range of teens here – especially those that only speak Spanish,” she said.
She shared a story about a Club member who didn’t feel he had deep connections because of the language barrier, but by working with him one on one and helping with the translation, Medina was able to start bridging that gap.
“You can really see him shining now. Seeing him come out of his shell has been the most rewarding things for me,” she said.
She wants people to understand how to add value to the emotions teens are feeling.
“We tend to tell them they’re fine and they’ll understand when they’re an adult, but we don’t give them the strategies to help them cope with those emotions. Even if it’s something super small to us, it’s big to them, because their world is so much smaller than ours,” she said.
Medina said she loves getting to see all that Club offers teens — and wishes she had been a part of it growing up.
“Personally, I’m a kid that didn’t go to club. I lacked the knowledge of what Boys & Girls Club was. Seeing everything that is available to kids is amazing. We’re making a huge impact on these kids’ lives. I think if I had gone to club as a kid, I would have widened my range in general. There are so many opportunities for kids that might not have them outside of Club.”