Amy has been interning with Just Bakery since the beginning of 2017. Although all of the Just Bakery students who she works with are adults, her ultimate dream is to help children who have incarcerated parents. She knows personally how difficult that experience can be; her father was incarcerated, and she understands how hard it can be on a kid’s mental health. She describes how children tend to “internalize” their feelings, and how at school they feel the “stigma” attached to having an incarcerated parent. Her life’s goal is to provide children with a safe environment for talking about their feelings, in an effort to reduce the sense of stigma and silence.
The first step that Amy took toward that goal was to get educated. She studied Human Development and Family Studies; Criminal Justice; and Education and Educational Services at UW Madison, where she just obtained her BS in May. Part of her studies included psychology, which she credits with helping to make her “a more open person.” That aspect of psychology is so important to Amy, that she wants to see even more of an emphasis on “going out and working with people” as part of UW’s program. Students should “be trained with a multicultural lens” so that they are adequately prepared to work with people who may be unlike them.
Amy herself developed that “multicultural lens” at a very young age. She grew up on the south side of Milwaukee in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, though she herself is of mixed African-American and white descent. Most of her friends were Spanish-speaking, and she ate the Mexican and Puerto Rican foods that their families cooked, and attended their fiestas. As an adult, she continues to reach out to and learn about people with different backgrounds than herself. In fact, she is currently involved in a qualitative study on how transgender youth experience and exhibit emotions.
By the time Amy found Just Bakery, she had already gained experience in the field of re-entry services by serving as a volunteer with MUM’s Reading and Family Connection’s program and interning at United Way. At Just Bakery, Amy works with students to help them write resumes, draft conviction statements, search for jobs, and practice their interview skills. Writing conviction statements “makes it easier for them to openly discuss” their records with prospective employers. During mock interviews, students who “didn’t previously know what to do or say in an interview” get practice in a low-pressure, supportive environment.
Amy would describe herself as a “laid-back” person, very introverted but definitely “nice and interest-worthy.” She continues to volunteer with Just Bakery, even though she finished the requirements of her internship as part of her degree.
…by Diana G…