Engaging & Learning Virtually

The Center for New North Carolinians was caught off guard by COVID-19 and the subsequent changes to our work back in March, as we all were. For the spring 2020 interns, we were particularly uncertain of how we would meet our internship requirements, keep serving our clients, and how would we keep learning in these new remote and virtual ways.

One of the highlights for many of us was a virtual symposium hosted at the end of the semester. Interns and staff were invited to present on a variety of topics at this day-long event. Each intern was encouraged to pick topics that answer multiple questions that better assist with the population we serve. One of the things we were asked to consider was “How do the unique challenges and barriers that immigrants & refugees face make this social problem more difficult?” So, with each topic presented the focus was how can we bring awareness to this issue and how can we best support our clients when they are experiencing these issues.

Some of the topics that were researched and presented were:

  • Tech Literacy
  • Substance Abuse and Depression
  • Healthcare Access
  • Education
  • Human Trafficking
  • Family and Domestic Violence
  • Promoting Language Access & Linguistic Diversity
  • Poverty among the Immigrant and Refugee community
  • Immigrants/Refugees and Child Welfare
  • Historic Racism of our Immigration System
  • Youth Mental Health
  • Refugee Trauma

Each topic was thoroughly researched and the questions asked and conversation had was rich. The presentation on Immigrants/Refugees and Child Welfare took a closer look at what challenges families arriving in the United States often encounter. What it means to start a new life as well as learning to navigate through the systems. The presentation took a closer look at the Triple Trauma Paradigm, a psycho-social framework specific to immigrants and refugees that looks at the compounding impacts of traumatic experiences in the “pre-flight, flight, and post-flight” components of coming to a new country. Other topics like family and domestic violence looked at the statistics of people affected by domestic violence in North Carolina each year, including exploring different types of domestic abuse, such as emotional and psychological abuse, economic and financial abuse, stalking, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

With this symposium, it was made clear that the Center for New North Carolinians is constantly looking at what affects the clients we work with. There is a constant strive for more knowledge and resources. The staff and interns are dedicated in what they do. Despite the restriction that COVID-19 has presented, staff continue to support the clients and find resources that best fit their needs in these uncertain times, while also providing an academically enriching experience for their interns.

Thank you so much to the dedicated staff and interns!

Written by Miranda Tipton, MSW intern spring 2020.