Read Anita's story, one of our Asian Women’s Home interns:
Anita (left) during her internship at AACI Family Justice Center
“My name is Anita Amador. I am a Masters in Social Work (MSW) student attending San José State University and will be graduating in May 2017. I am a very hard-working and persistent person who has had many obstacles in my life, but each experience has helped me become the woman I am today.
I became an Asian Women’s Home (AWH) intern through school. I was interested in the internship because I have experienced domestic violence (DV) as a child and as a teenager in a relationship. I wanted to help others who were in similar situations.
My mother and I left our beloved country Chile due to Pinochet who imprisoned and tortured my mother for speaking out about her education rights. Growing up in the United States undocumented didn’t give my mother and I many benefits. In the 1990’s there were very few laws to protect DV victims. We became homeless. Only non-profits such as La Casa de las Madres in San Francisco were able to aid us.
When I started my internship, I became aware that AACI Family Justice Center (FJC) was about to open. I was very pleased to hear there would be a free one-stop center for victims of DV to access information and resources. The legal side of DV interests me, as I once thought I would become an attorney. However, my education path changed and I now want to help clients on a one on one basis. My field instructor Lushi Zhang and the other amazing staff at AWH allowed me to expand my professional experience and gave me the opportunity to intern both at AWH and at FJC from September 2015 to May 2016.
I had many tasks at FJC. I helped translate documents into Spanish, organized office supplies and I began learning protocols. As time went on my tasks at FJC grew, and I started giving my input in creating protocols to make FJC more efficient not just for the clients but the staff as well. I was also putting input into the creation of the Excel statistical data system that was being developed to collect data for FJC. Additionally, I assessed walk-in clients for their needs, which included a Danger Assessment. I specifically assisted the Spanish speaking clients.
FJC has a variety of organizations working together to help victims, so my duties were very diverse.
Services at the FJC that I assisted with included:
- working with the District Attorneys regarding client’s cases
- briefing family/immigration attorneys regarding clients’ cases of divorce/child custody/immigration matters
- connecting victims with Victim Witness to receive services from them
- linking victims to Harvest Food Bank
- networking with San José Police Department/San José State University Police Department/The Department of Probation, and collaborating with Adult Protective Services/Child Protective Services to make reports
- giving victims safety planning tips and referrals to other agencies to better assist their needs. For instance, I referred some victims to AWH for help with restraining orders, criminal protective order modifications, emergency housing, peer counseling and general support.
At the end of my internship, I trained new volunteers on FJC protocols, including training on the client’s intake forms, interacting with clients/agencies and inputting the data. Although my internship has officially ended, I continue to contribute to FJC by supporting FJC volunteers with any questions they may have.
Since the San José FJC has opened and because of its location, I truly believe it has opened the doors to many victims to reach out for help. I hope that more and more DV victims visit it to receive the free services which may help save their lives. The greatest reward that FJC gave me was the opportunity to network and acquire knowledge, especially on the legal side, to better assist future clients of mine. I truly put all my effort and heart into FJC. I am very thankful that I was able to be part of an agency that is there to help victims of DV in acquiring safety, knowledge, and resources.”