New Yorker Sally Bendiks has completed an internship at Equinox Brook Drive – here she reflects on her experiences…
“My story begins at a small university in upstate New York. In the fall 2011, I was accepted into a study abroad program in London for the spring. I could not have been more excited. I would not only have the opportunity to study here, but also to gain work experience through an internship.
“I am a psychology major and intend to pursue a career in public health post-graduation. My interests lie in mental health, so when I found out my internship placement was at Equinox Brook Drive, a residential alcohol and drug detoxification service, I knew I would be gaining valuable experience.
“I had never worked in such a setting, however, and so I had no idea what to expect. I was in an unfamiliar country, far from home, and was quite nervous to start working.
“While I thought with five years’ experience working in medical practices, I had a lot to offer Equinox Brook Drive, what I found was that the staff and service users had far more to offer me.”
What did I do at Equinox Brook Drive?
“My range of duties at Brook Drive and Equinox has been expansive. From helping to compile databases to shadowing GPs, the knowledge I’ve gained is far beyond any of my expectations. I’ve had the opportunity not just to work at Equinox Brook Drive, but to visit other sites at Equinox and do work at their central office.
“I’m grateful for the variety of areas I’ve explored here: everything from marketing, to policy making, and even learning about the different therapies. Each helped me learn more about myself and where my passions lie.”
My experience at Equinox Brook Drive
“I’m still surprised at the level of interest the staff and service users have shown about my background. I always feel welcome there. I had considered myself an open-minded person before working at Equinox Brook Drive, but have become a much more compassionate person than I previously was as a result.
“Each Equinox service user is so unique, coming from different walks of life, with his or her own story. Even though each service user only stays at Brook Drive for a few weeks, I could see a change in each person by the end of their stay. The staff at Equinox Brook Drive really care about the wellbeing of each service user and about giving each person a second chance.
“So, thank you to all the staff and service users at Equinox for letting the girl with the funny American accent into your life. You have given me far more than I can ever give you, simply by allowing me to listen to your stories and see your day-to-day activities. You’ve helped me realize what path to follow.”
Michael Twamley, Contract and Performance Manager at Equinox Brook Drive, said of Sally:
“Sally presented to us as an unusual quality for us, that of someone who had never come across a person with addiction before. With that in mind I was protective at the start of Sally’s time with us. I need not have worried as Sally turned out to be an extremely personable young lady with a real sense of why she was here, what she had to do and how she was going to achieve it.
“I knew that our service users would want to know about where she came from and encouraged her to talk to them. Running behind this was her amazing work ethic and the tasks she completed while here. What I thought might take a month took her a week and this led to me giving her more work which she also hungrily devoured. I would like to have kept Sally here for a much longer time but I know she is destined for a wonderful career no matter where she goes.”
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