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Heather Rabinowicz ’02 has spent extensive time this semester in an internship at the Bethlehem facility of KidsPeace, a national organization that offers help to children in crisis.

“My internship focuses on teaching the children what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior,” says Rabinowicz, who is majoring in behavioral neuroscience with a minor in health care and society. “These children have been taken out of their homes for several reasons — sexual and physical abuse, neglect, etc. — and do not know the proper and acceptable way to behave and have problems controlling their anger. The staff at KidsPeace tries to teach them right from wrong.”

Her internship mentor, Dave Williams, treatment team supervisor and licensed social worker, praises Rabinowicz’s contributions.

“Heather is the most dedicated intern we’ve had,” he says. “She has good instincts and some great ideas. She takes an active role during recreation and group therapy and is very involved with what goes on here.”

The internship is expanding Rabinowicz’s horizons both on a personal and academic level. She has gained both a newfound understanding of the importance of family and parental support, and she is also complementing academic work in her major.

As she explains, “My major deals with the biological, physiological, and psychological reasons why people do what they do, but I feel my major deals more with biology than psychology. That is why I wanted to work at this site. At KidsPeace, they do not look at the biology but rather psychology of children in crisis and that interests me.”

She has invested much emotional capital in the internship as well. “This internship means so much to me, I actually decided to continue on next semester,” she says. “I can only hope that the boys I am working with are gaining something from my being there. I know that I am gaining so much and becoming a better person because of them.”

While she is uncertain about her career, Rabinowicz may work with children in some capacity to build on her experience. “I want to gain exposure and an understanding of these children,” she says. “I want to learn more about the interventions that go on with the children, and I want to simply learn more about this field of work. I love this internship because it makes me realize what is really important and precious in life. It teaches me how important family is. It makes me realize that stressing over an exam really is not that important.”

Through the Landis Community Outreach Center, Rabinowicz has been student coordinator for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education Now, camp counselor for the Kids in the Community (KIC) program this summer, and a volunteer at the Lehigh Valley Child Care Center at College Hill and KIC. She is founder and president of the volunteer living floor in Keefe Hall, and a member of Alpha Phi sorority, where she has served as a Panhellenic delegate and an administrative assistant.

Categorized in: Academic News