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Abbie Shain Completes JFS Internship

Posted on by Molly Kitching

University of Minnesota student Abbie Shain will soon complete her internship at JFS. Her responsibilities have included care coordination and assessments with UCare clients. Abbie has also provided financial counseling to a variety of JFS clients. “I knew I wanted to work with immigrant and refugee populations,” said Abbie. “JFS was my first choice so I was thrilled to be placed here.”


Abbie grew up in central New Jersey and moved to Minnesota in 2010 to attend Macalester College. She is now attending U of MN, working on her master’s in social work (MSW) with an anticipated graduation date of May, 2019.


“I am so grateful for my time at JFS,” said Abbie. “My supervisors Jill and Vanessa gave me a lot of space to ask questions and make mistakes. They have pushed me out of my comfort zone and supported me to grow in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.”


“I had first-hand experience with a primary issue my non-English speaking clients faced. Most of the East African clients speak Somali, so as I scheduled a session with an interpreter for a new client from that area of the world, it never occurred to me to that Somali might not be the client’s language. It wasn’t, and I now know how it feels to be unable to communicate. You feel frustrated and helpless. We were able to quickly find someone who spoke Oromo and save the day.”


Social work is a career change for Abbie. She has been a farmer, community organizer, fundraiser, and nonprofit communication professional. Last month, she attended a fundraiser at an organization with which she volunteers. For the first time, she introduced herself as a social worker. “Not an aspiring social worker, or a graduate student,” said Abbie, “but someone doing that hard, valuable, transformational work. I have grown into that identity and gained the confidence to introduce myself that way because of my time at JFS.”


Abbie’s supervisor Jill Grover noted her tremendous growth throughout her JFS internship. “She came to us with an incredible amount of skill and natural talent, but this work still managed to introduce her to new challenges daily,” explained Jill. “It has been wonderful to see her grow and learn from these experiences.”


Everyone at JFS wishes Abbie all the best as she completes for MSW. “She is going to make a terrific social worker someday soon,” said Jill with pride.

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