From Dreams to Reality - Interview With Annette Copado
Annette Copado graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, along with a minor in Sociology and certificates in Child & Family Advocacy and Health and Society. With the requirement of an internship for her studies, Annette found the perfect opportunity to help the children at Lesia's Land of Love. Located in Racine, Wisconsin, this short-term placement facility offers a supportive and safe environment for children from birth to 17 who are currently waiting for a foster home.
"Learning how the foster care system works, and just learning about the kids [was] beneficial to me."
Annette started her internship with Lesia's Land of Love Receiving Home in the fall of 2020, and worked there as an intern until May 2021. On the first day at the facility, Annette reached out to the children she would work with by learning more about their interests such as music, shows, and everything in between. Annette was able to meet different age groups, from kindergarten all the way to high school. Creating a bond with everyone was something Annette made sure to do. By opening conversation with the youth, Annette formed a welcoming environment for everyone she met. Using the familiarity with the age range in her family, it seemed only natural when speaking with the kids.
"I want to be able to go into a field where I can help children, to either reunite [them] back with their family if that's what's best for them. Or have them find a family, a home that they feel safe in, and that they [are shown] they are loved."
Annette provided basic support six hour a day, four days a week with anything the children needed.
Instead of just monitoring their online schooling, Annette would participate alongside them during their classes. Annette focused on ensuring the kids that she was always there to help by taking a more personal approach with their schooling. Annette tutored the kids to help keep hem on track with their assignments, especially since many required help completing their work during virtual classroom sessions.
By the end of her internship, Annette met and worked with 20 kids. During this difficult and confusing time in a child's life, patience is an important skill to have. Understanding the frustration someone could be feeling at that specific moment, Annette developed different methods to work efficiently with the behaviors she saw.
"Even though all these kids are in different situations, they are all in the same boat. They all have difficult lives, no matter what has happened."
With this housing resource being limited in South-east Wisconsin, Annette worked with her manager and other staff member's to ensure the best quality care for the children. The team shares tremendous love and attention with all the kids that come into the foster care system. After her internship with Lesia's Land of Love, in June 2021 Annette was hired as a Youth Care Worker at the shelter.
This opportunity allowed Annette to get a better understanding of what to expect, to pursue an anticipated career as a social worker. Her internship has not only influenced her career path, but she gained multiple connections within this specific occupation. As she works hard within her position at Lesia's Land of Love, Annette plans to one day operate her own group foster home.