In order to get experience, you have to have experience.
This is the conundrum that college students face as they near graduation. The Knoxville Family Justice Center (FJC), a non-profit domestic violence center located just a few miles from campus, offers students needing internships the opportunity to gain experience in a non-profit setting and get personal, one-on-one mentoring.
The FJC takes interns in a variety of majors, including but not limited to marketing, public relations, child and family studies, communications and psychology.
"There is a real benefit of having interns here because we only have three staff members," said Amy Dilworth, executive director of the FJC. "We get needs met for the justice center from very passionate and knowledgeable students from UT who are working on gaining experience for their future careers."
The opportunity helps both intern and employer alike.
"There is a benefit for the students (as well), they gain experience for their future careers, the opportunity to network and get experience in a variety of fields in one place," Dilworth said.
Laura Potts, senior in child and family studies, said she was drawn to the FJC because she felt like what she would be doing would be valuable and needed.
"I chose the Family Justice Center because when I (was interviewed), I felt like ... I would have a supervisor that supported interns and a learning environment," Potts said. "I didn't want to be at a place where there wasn't much need for interns. I felt like there was definitely going to be a need for what I was doing."
The FJC's primary mission is to serve victims of domestic violence in the Knoxville area, but that does not mean they only seek interns interested in working directly with the clientele. There is also a need for interns in the business and promotions side of the center.
"Besides just opening my eyes to the reality of and importance of domestic violence, it has provided me the chance to get hands-on experience dealing with different components of marketing," said Richard Williams, senior in management and a marketing and public relations intern for the FJC.
Potts, who is also completing her practicum at the FJC, said the most valuable part of the internship is working with a group of individuals who are truly passionate about their jobs.
The passion at FJC inspires Potts.
"Learning that there really are people out there who care about their jobs and the victims out there (is very valuable to me)," she said. "I think that's been really cool to learn from them and their experience and education and the things that they do for the people that we see."
The FJC uses Hire-a-Vol to recruit potential interns for fall and spring positions. More information about the FJC can be found at fjcknoxville.com. The Center can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter at @KnoxvilleFJC.