My name is Ally Silva, and I will be receiving my Master’s degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California. I have spent the last year as a student intern at Valley Crisis Center, and it has been the most rewarding experience I could have asked for in an internship. The staff at Valley Crisis Center is a group of the most passionate and empathetic people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I am privileged to have been a part of this team.
My passion for domestic violence prevention stems from a college relationship in which I was emotionally and verbally abused on a daily basis by a boyfriend who was showing signs of becoming physically abusive as well. Like many survivors, I did not realize at the time that I was experiencing abuse. After I “freed” myself from this relationship, it took me many years to admit I was depressed and that I needed help. I sought counseling, which truly helped me. From then on, I realized I wanted to focus my career goals on helping to empower and strengthen survivors of domestic violence.
When USC contacted me regarding a field placement interview with Valley Crisis Center, I was ecstatic. It was the kind of organization I had hoped to obtain placement with, and I was going to have the opportunity to provide counseling to survivors of such traumas.
Through Valley Crisis Center, I had the opportunity to be trained in sexual assault prevention advocacy. I was also able to participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and VCC’s Peace for Families event as well as An Evening with Gatsby, an amazing fundraising event in which the staff dressed the part in flapper costumes galore. I have participated in presentations throughout the Merced community, tabled at various events, and I am participating in my very first Denim Day this year.
Most importantly, I have genuinely enjoyed being a peer counselor and implementing the tools and training that VCC and USC have provided me with. Seeing individuals transform from feelings of hopelessness to empowerment is one of the most rewarding experiences. Throughout this entire year, I have seen the impact that Valley Crisis Center has on this community, and I could not be prouder to have been blessed with such a great field placement to finish my graduate studies with.
To the team at Valley Crisis Center and Alliance for Community Transformations, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity. I will truly miss all of you.