The Ohio State University College of Social Work recognized COHHIO’s efforts to foster the next generation of advocates and professionals dedicated to ending homelessness by presenting the agency with the 2021 Macro Field Agency of the Year.
OSU Field Intern Jack Brandl described his experience in his letter nominating COHHIO for the award:
COHHIO has become like a home for me. Since January 2020, I have had the great honor of serving as a field intern with the agency. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of extremely talented professionals leading a diverse array of initiatives. For example, I worked alongside the Director of Advocacy and the Civic Engagement Coordinator supporting the work of Ohio Votes and increasing civic engagement of underrepresented populations; I became a member of the Racial Equity Committee and helped create and lead race equity trainings for organizations around the state under the leadership of the Director of Training and Technical Assistance; I experienced a youth homelessness summit with the Youth Advocate; learned about the coordinated homeless services system in Ohio’s 80 rural counties from the Director of Ohio’s Balance of State Continuum of Care and several other staff working for the BoSCoC; and so much more.
At COHHIO, I never felt like an intern, but a team member. I was always allowed to gain experiential learning through doing. Moreover, COHHIO is a team of experts. Everyone on staff is well-respected in their area. When I mention COHHIO, community and agency partners are always impressed and trusting in the work done there. The team has also taken me under their wing and used every event and action as a learning opportunity. Whether it was the onset of COVID or racial unrest as a result of the ongoing and senseless police brutality, COHHIO as a team made it a point to address how and what I was doing was important and made sure it played a role in my education as a social worker.
I cannot adequately put into words how valuable this experience was to me. I never felt overburdened or that I was exploited in any way, but was always given tasks that felt meaningful and that connected to building my toolkit as a future MSW. I cannot fathom the energy and effort it took on behalf of everyone at COHHIO to create this environment for me, but I am so appreciative. Interning with COHHIO was a dream and I highly recommend students intern with the agency in the future. I have worked at several agencies listed as potential field placement sites, and based on those experiences was nervous about how this experience would turn out. However, I was shocked by how amazing this experience was at COHHIO.
I am leaving the MSW program feeling like a completely different person than when I arrived in 2019 and that is in large part thanks to my time at COHHIO. They are an outstanding agency, doing outstanding work, filled with outstanding people, and still managed to create an outstanding learning environment for me. COHHIO deserves to be honored as an Outstanding Field Agency.
Thanks Jack! The admiration is mutual!