In retrospect, I didn’t know what Hillcrest Educational Centers was on the first day of my internship last May. I thought I did, as many people do. However, as my second summer at Hillcrest comes to a close, I still cannot say in confidence that I utterly fathom all of the wonderful things the agency does. Perhaps this is because there are far too many. I think each person and family that has been served by the Hillcrest Educational Foundation has a different interpretation of what the organization actually is based on the unique difference it has made in each of their lives. The foundation tirelessly serves not only its residential and day students, but also its dental patients and community in immeasurable ways. As an intern in the Admissions and Marketing Department, I am thankful to have been exposed to many different aspects of the agency and the astounding effects of its service.
The first time I see a new Hillcrest student is usually in the form of a 300 page referral packet that I am forcing through the copy machine. Each packet tells its own story and it is usually not a happy one. In fact, the Admissions Department sees about 5-7 unhappy stories every week, making the third floor a very busy place. My supervisors, Jackie and Ted, are the King and Queen of admissions. As the Admissions Coordinator, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jackie take a break. She truly exemplifies the meaning of hard work through her continued efforts to balance the never ending wave of paperwork on her desk. Ted, as the Admissions and Marketing Director, always knows someone somewhere. He spends most days traveling all over the Northeast interviewing new students, never meeting a child that he didn’t like or didn’t want to help. I am immensely grateful for all of the time Jackie and Ted have invested in teaching me, not as an intern, but as a member of the department.
Throughout my time with the Admissions Department, I have also been fortunate enough to work with the program administration from each campus. All of the program managers have been more than accommodating in helping me “learn the ropes” of the agency. At the Administrative Office, I was surrounded by amazing people, all dedicated to assisting our programs in providing the best care and treatment possible.
I have never really felt that the word “internship” has accurately depicted my experience at Hillcrest Educational Centers. When you think of an intern, you may think of the college student that goes to fetch the coffee, makes the copies, or takes care of the pile of busy work everyone has been putting off. However, my “internship” with Hillcrest has had a much greater value. I am honored to feel like a member of the Hillcrest family. Thank you to the entire Hillcrest staff and students for affording me the opportunity to learn from such a miraculous organization.