April Volunteer of the Month: Hadley Standring
Our Volunteer of the Month, Hadley Standring, is a Master of Social Work (MSW) candidate at the University of Georgia (UGA). She started her service in August 2015 and is nearing the end of her year-long internship. While most of the process leading up to Hadley’s placement with our organization was out of her control, she has had to navigate her way through the unknown and the unexpected. She has been vital to the successful outcomes and the productive learning experiences from her service.
Hadley describes the impact of her service and what she learned: “My program placed me with New American Pathways, so there was no choice initially in where I would intern,” Hadley says. “My experiences as a MSW intern and an ESL tutor have given me a lot of perspective about refugees, refugee resettlement, and humanity. My world view is more enriched and larger. You get to be submerged in every step of the resettlement process and be a part of their journey.”
Throughout her MSW internship, Hadley has been flexible in serving between two departments and executing multiple service duties. She began interning in our Resettlement and Resource Navigation department providing direct services to refugees to help them attain safety and stability and to reach self-sufficiency. She currently interns in our Advancement department and supports the department with indirect services that accomplish organizational goals in relation to Communications, Marketing, and Policy.
“The people I’ve met at New American Pathways are some of the most grounded, honest, and caring people I’ve ever met,” Hadley explains. “It feels communal here and I’ve never experienced that in a workplace. My perspective in relation to social work on what’s important and what’s not important has changed. I’ve had clear examples of a problem versus a crisis and how to approach each. ”
Hadley also tutors in our English at Home program, which allows volunteers to provide English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring, English language conversation practice, and cultural mentoring to the new Americans we serve. She has tutored since January 2016. She has made memorable experiences tutoring: “When I tutor, I see so much learning interest from my English language learner. She seems to relish in the two hours we spend together and in the time she gets to spend learning. I’ve gotten to see her confidence in her skills grow.”
Hadley is originally from Colorado and moved to Georgia in 2011. Her time at UGA started as an employee with an extended program that offers cooking and nutrition courses for families at risk for hunger and malnutrition. Hadley then began her MSW program and will graduate in May 2016. After graduation she plans to return to working with the extended program full-time to continue in the path of hunger and nutrition. Her end goal is to get a state-level position where she can have the strongest influence on policy.
When Hadley’s not serving others, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and walking with her dog. She looks forward to running her first half marathon in the fall. She fancies cooking Italian and French cuisine or chicken dishes. She likes to travel, she’s been to several countries in Europe and South America and has visited Canada. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She loves the language and it gave her an opportunity to travel. Her favorite travel spot is Argentina, where she lived for three months.
Although there was no choice in where our MSW intern served, the choice to be flexible, be interested in learning about our organization and the people we serve, take on service opportunities outside of the general internship, and make the best of a field experience opportunity was up to Hadley. We appreciate the choices Hadley has made during her internship and the quality services she continues to provide.