Helping Kids, Having Fun
When she first began searching for a summer internship, Violet Newhouse ’23 was not quite sure where to look. “I was just googling public health internships, and was like — this isn’t going to work,” she recalled. It was then that Newhouse’s career advisor suggested she start by identifying organizations she was interested in and call them to see what programs they had available.
This new strategy led her to YWCA Missoula and specifically its domestic violence and homeless shelter (The Meadowlark), in her home state of Montana. A YWCA employee with whom Newhouse spoke on the phone also referred her to the GUTS! (Girls Using Their Strength) program, which consists of week-long summer camp sessions held every two weeks.
Hometown: Bozeman, Mt.
High School: Bozeman High School
The Meadowlark, according to the YWCA website, provides “a safe place for [children] to go every day after school.” To help these children heal and recover from trauma, the center offers “social-emotional support, academic support, and therapeutic services.” GUTS! focuses on “girls and gender-diverse youth,” encouraging them to “explore personal values and discover their strengths” through year-round programs, such as the summer camp at which Newhouse is volunteering.
Newhouse splits her time between The Meadowlark and GUTS!, two distinct YWCA programs that nonetheless require similar skills. At both, she works with children in the Missoula area, helping them to build confidence and find their identities through outdoor education, games, crafts, and other activities. Among the topics discussed, Newhouse said, are social-emotional skills, self-regulation, empowerment and leadership, peer pressure, healthy relationships, gender identity, gender expression, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
She noted that addressing such heavy topics with kids who might be struggling with those same issues is not always easy. But despite the challenges, she expressed her admiration of the kids’ resilience and appreciation for their undying positivity. “They’re just so fun to work with … a lot of them come every day, and they’re always really excited to talk to you,” she said. “You can also see improvement [over time], that they’re taking things away from our activities beyond having fun.”
In terms of her academic interests, Newhouse mentioned public health, specifically women’s health and sexual/reproductive healthcare, as well as intimate partner violence. At Hamilton, she has explored these subjects through sociology courses like Sociology of Health and Illness, a class, she said, that taught her about underserved populations and health inequalities.
Looking forward, Newhouse remains uncertain of a specific post-Hamilton direction, though she hopes to continue pursuing her interests in either an academic or professional setting. “I would like to work in nonprofits and do public health, like education and outreach,” she said. “And focus on preventative healthcare and women’s health, things like that.”