Name: Helen Xiu
Class Year: 2024
Hometown: Houston, TX
Internship Organization: Children's Village
Job Title: Advocacy and Support Intern
Location: Chinatown, Philadelphia
I have been fortunate to be at a workplace that has welcomed me into all areas of the organization. Since beginning this internship, I have worked with family services, with the developmental psychologist, and have worked in classrooms. In my work with these different sides of childcare, I have learned what equity looks like in action. I see what it’s like to center families and how to meet them where they are, in terms of language, socioeconomic class, and more. Each time that I compile resources to provide to families or call with a parent one-on-one, I make sure that I am considering all of their needs.
I applied to this internship through First Up, an organization that supports early childhood education, and they connected me to Children’s Village. They saw that I would be an asset to Children’s Village because of my sociology and education background in college, and because I speak Mandarin Chinese, a language spoken by many families there. I was very interested in this opportunity because I knew it would give me a chance to both serve the Chinatown community and apply my education to the real world.
Working with parents and guardians in Mandarin Chinese has led me to expand my knowledge of the language. Though I grew up speaking Chinese at home, using it in a new context has broadened my vocabulary and my understanding. Many staff members at Children’s Village speak multiple dialects of Chinese and other languages, and I’ve appreciated how well they are able to serve the families at this organization. I’ve also seen how important it is for children to have staff members who can speak in their primary language and can pronounce their names correctly. It makes a world of difference when a teacher makes the effort to learn a few phrases in another language for a young child who has not yet learned English.
Now that my internship is coming to an end, I realize just how much I have learned from this experience. I feel especially fortunate because Children’s Village does more than the average childcare center. From the specialized funding applications, to developmental screenings of children, to visiting the state capital to advocate for better funding for early childhood educators, I’ve learned that there is a lot of background work that goes into a quality childcare center. Coming away from this internship experience, I have a renewed sense of purpose in my studies and a clearer vision of how I want to serve others.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.