Dispatches from the Field is a monthly feature at Innovate@BCSW designed to showcase the school’s commitment to field education, and to fostering fruitful relationships with organizations, both in Boston and around the world, who are providing critical services to those living at the margins of society.
Agency partner: Mayté Antelo-Ovando
Organization: Antelo-Ovando is Education and Consultation Director at Heading Home, an organization that provides emergency, transitional, and permanent housing and support services to low-income and formerly homeless families and individuals in communities throughout Greater Boston (learn more about all of Heading Home’s Programs here).
Services: Antelo-Ovando’s job is to provide learning opportunities and learning reinforcement for Heading Home’s staff members, so that they are better prepared to provide services to the organization’s clients. “This means that I may directly teach on a topic important to Heading Home, or I may bring in outside partners and agencies to lead training activities on things like clinical exercises, motivational therapy, and trauma-informed care,” she explains. “Heading Home strives every day to be a client-centered agency, and so I work hard to ensure that this is central to any staff development and training that we provide.”
Since 2013, Antelo-Ovando has also supervised the internship program at Heading Home, which includes, on average, five interns every year. The main responsibility for interns at Heading Home is case management, even if, at the beginning, says Antelo-Ovando, “it’s not always apparent to students, since they’re not working in a traditional clinical setting like a hospital.”
Once settled, however, interns do provide case management for and engage in therapeutic conversations with Heading Home’s clients, and in a variety of settings — with groups in family shelters, or one-on-one with clients struggling with homelessness.
Relationship with BCSSW: “One of my first BC students came in with a lot of experience prior to their MSW program,” remembers Antelo-Ovando. “This student had a very clear idea of what they wanted professionally, and what they wanted from their internship experience, and was also very aware of what they knew and didn’t know, which I think is incredibly invaluable. I’ve noticed this trait across the board for the BC interns.
“Most of the BC students are also very vocal, and this is important. I tell students from the beginning that this internship is going to be what you make of it. I find that BC students are go-getters, and not afraid to say what they need, and then they have the wherewithal to also offer suggestions as to how to get there. BC students are incredibly inquisitive and prepared. It’s a privilege to work with them.”