UWA student Gabby Fitzpatrick has contributed 100 hours towards a project to help vulnerable young people successfully transition out of state care systems into independent adulthood through a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.
The Biomedical Science student, who specialises in Population Health and Communication Studies, was drawn to the internship through a desire to put what she had learned in her degree into practice while contributing to the local community.
The internship project, based at the Salvation Army’s Transitional Support Services team, saw Gabby support the Longest Shortcut project, an initiative that aims to teach core life skills to young people leaving the care system, while also advocating to change the leaving care age from 18 to 21.
Gabby used her communication skills and expertise to share important data and information from the Longest Shortcut project with key stakeholders, developing infographics and pitches to maximise support for the project’s success.
Being exposed to the serious issues facing young people in care of the state struck a chord for Gabby, who is in the same age group as many of the young people supported by the Longest Shortcut project.
“It opened my eyes to different realities that people face on a day-to-day basis,” said Gabby, “Feeling as if I could make a worthwhile contribution to tackle some of these problems was a highlight of the internship.”
Another highlight was working alongside the Transitional Support Services team. “Working with people who are super passionate about the work they do in this field and the commitment they have when helping their young people was inspiring,” said Gabby.
The Transitional Support Services team noted the work Gabby produced will be “extremely beneficial” to the progression of the project.
“Gabby added a lot of value to our team with her professionalism, unique perspective, understanding and willingness to contribute whole heartedly to the project,” said Transitional Support Services Mobile Resource Support Worker Kaitlyn Traynor.
Gabby says the internship has led her to have “increased gratitude” for the people and support in her life, while allowing her to look towards solutions and how she can make a difference.
Gabby would “100% recommend” the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship to other students. “The experience in the workplace and ability to see your degree put into action is such a worthwhile experience. Being able to make change whilst still studying is empowering.”