Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Intern Has Passion for Helping Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 04:50 PM
Ashley Intern PhotoAshley McCloud (second from left) with HAC’s Margaret Benaka (from left), Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Mary Everett-Patriquin on the final day of her internship.

When she graduates from Wheaton College next May, Ashley McCloud plans to get her master’s degree in business administration and then “be able to create my own company where I can be able to help reduce poverty.” 

Though she has long had a desire to help others, Ashley witnessed how HAC is working to disrupt poverty on the Cape and Islands as part of a summer internship which ended last month. 

“What I love about HAC is that each department here has a role and is contributing to people that need help,” she said. 

Over the course of two months, Ashley assisted several HAC departments, including HAC Energy, its Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC), and Family and Individuals Services. 

She helped Cassi Danzl, director of family and individuals services, on a safety policy and procedure for three of the agency’s family shelters – Scattered Sites, Carriage House and the Village at Cataumet. 

Ashley worked closely with Ruth Bechtold, manager of HAC Energy, in creating a standard operating procedure for invoicing. “She is very smart and also has a good sense of humor. She fit really well into our group,” Bechtold said of McCloud. “She is going to go places.” 

For Ashley, who grew up on Nantucket and lives in Hyannis, her career goals are rooted in her background. Her parents were born in Jamaica and during several trips there, Ashley has seen how insufficient housing, education, and healthcare have negatively impacted those on the Caribbean island. 

“I have a passion for helping people,” she said. “If you help someone, that person can then help the next person. It is about sending positive energy into the world.”

Tags: HCEC, Interns, Family Shelter, HAC Energy, housing consumer education, Cassi Danzl, Ruth Bechtold, Wheaton College, Ashley McCloud

Internship Experience at HAC Reinforces Career Aspirations

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

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Though Rebecca Brigham is only in her junior year at the University of Massachusetts, she already knows she wants to work with children once she graduates.

“That is where I am aiming,” Brigham said while inside the play space at Angel House at the end of August, two days before she returned to college.

Brigham’s first real practical experience working with children occurred in this same spot at the Hyannis shelter where she was an intern this summer. There she was supervised by her aunt, Amy Brigham, the assistant teacher at Angel House.

“I wanted to see the clinical side of this,” Rebecca said. “And I love kids too so that helped.”

So once a week starting in June, Rebecca would visit the play space, holding, feeding and caring for children as young as a few weeks old, some of whom were born addicted to drugs.

Rebecca has witnessed firsthand, and played a significant role, in the development of these children in their formative years. “It has been an amazing program, just the way every kid is given their own personal regiment,” Rebecca said. “They kind of cater this to each kid and their specific needs.”

While she has enjoyed working with each child, Rebecca admitted she grew attached to one who, not unlike other children at Angel House, initially, “couldn’t hold her head up, couldn’t crawl, was very quiet and kept to herself. Now she is crawling, developing and has this great personality which is an amazing thing to see.”

Interns like Rebecca are not unusual at HAC. In fact one of Rebecca’s childhood friends she grew up with in Barnstable, Allison Rolfe, also spent the summer as an intern at Angel House.

Beyond simply assisting staff in their duties, Amy said that interns are a valuable component at Angel House, allowing children who have suffered early trauma to be exposed to new caregivers. “Having new people come in here helps them to understand what life is all about,” Amy said. “Yes, there is a routine, but it’s not static and things do change.”

The internship program, Amy said, also allows Angel House staff to improve upon their own skills as they teach what they have learned to students who may one day find themselves in a similar work environment after college.

Tags: Interns, Angel House, Rebecca Brigham, Amy Brigham