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Reflections on a SARA Practicum

Taysir Al Janabi worked with SARA for the fall 2016 semester as a practicum student. His passion for learning and fully engaging in this tough topic was evident throughout his experience. Taysir toughed it out through over 35 hours of Volunteer Companion training. A feat that is not easy for anyone, but especially someone who is working full-time and is a student, too. Read below in Taysir’s own words a reflection on his personal experience.

I joined SARA as an intern at the beginning of August 2016 as a part of my master’s studies in public health at Virginia Tech. The whole process of my internship was a wonderful experience. I was nervous the first time that I was at the SARA office but that feeling was all gone once I met Kelsey, the Director of Community Engagement, as she made it clear that she would be with me all the way during my internship and would provide as much advice and guidance as she could. During these four months, I learned much more than I expected. I also had the opportunity to participate in the 40-hour Volunteer Companion training that was held by SARA for its volunteers.  The volunteer companion training has given me the knowledge, skills, and opportunity to meet amazing people who have devoted their time and effort to eliminate sexual assault in the Roanoke Valley. I also had the chance to meet many guest speakers who talked about a variety of sensitive topics that made me more aware about the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in our community. The training provided me with detailed information about what survivors of sexual assault go through. In addition to attending these lectures, we visited two sites for training sessions: Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where survivors can go for evidence collection, and the local police department. This was to help trainees be familiar with the sites that offer help to survivors of sexual assault. SARA’s staff is a great group of people who have done their best to make me feel comfortable in a welcoming and professional environment. They were open to different opinions and suggestions that have led to different productive perspectives in developing a curriculum for Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in the Roanoke Valley, and this will help to have SARA’S first educational session for parents about CSA. With the help, passion, and enthusiasm that I have encountered at SARA, I have been able to put what I have learned theoretically in my classes into practical knowledge such as: developing, implementing, and evaluating health educational programs. The CSA training would not be a reality without the opportunity that I was given by SARA and its amazing people who work for such a great cause.

We want to thank Taysir so much for his hard work and dedication to his practicum experience. Please join us for the implementation of his curriculum on January 11th at the CoLab. More information about this event can be found here.