One Employee’s Journey from Volunteer to Team Member

“A couple years ago, I was finishing up my undergrad degree at UCO and needed to complete my
first 25-hour field study (internship). I had to find an organization within the Edmond area that
went within the lines of family development and human sciences. I grew up in Mustang and
was new to the Edmond area and had recently changed my degree plan from horticulture, so to
be honest, I really had no idea where to even start looking. I reached out to my professor to
help me with finding a place and one of her top suggestions was the Anna’s House Foundation!
I reached out to Britley to see if they needed an intern and within two weeks, I got started at
the office.

I spent two months at Anna’s House helping with tasks around the office, volunteering at their
monthly support group, and assisting at their Easter Party. My field study time quickly came to
an end, but I felt as though there was a calling for me to stay involved in some capacity. I didn’t
know what that would look like, so for the next year and a half, I regularly volunteered
wherever I could; parent support groups, holidays parties, providing Thanksgiving baskets, and
donating to the resource room whenever it was needed. I had no idea what these kiddos had
been through, but I wanted to be able to provide love and encouragement to any child I came
in contact with. Even if I didn’t have direct contact with the kids, I knew my efforts could
potentially help a family out.

In August of 2022, my last semester of undergrad had arrived and this time, I had to find a field
study for 150 hours. Practicum was my final step before graduation, and before I had even
started the semester, I already knew I wanted to end my college experience with AHF. Britley so
lovingly welcomed me back and I began another internship for 4 months. This time was a
completely different experience. I was trained on how to use the electronic filing system, I
attended Guiding Principles training for new foster families, and I even got hands on experience
shadowing the Care Specialists during court hearings and home visits. If I’m being honest, some
days were difficult and a lot of tears were shed behind the scenes. No one can prepare you for
what these kids and families experience. I never expected to go into this field when I started
college, but I continued to feel like I’m exactly where I need to be.

A Care Specialist position became available during my internship with AHF, in which I applied
and was accepted shortly after. I felt as though everything had come full circle. Being fresh out
of college I knew this journey would be trying at times, not to mention I’m extremely
empathetic by nature. Despite these barriers I had imagined, I feel as though God perfectly
orchestrated this journey of mine. I’m now 6 months into my position as a Care Specialist and
have gotten to walk alongside multiple incredible families in their fostering journey. I am
looking forward to what’s to come, and can only hope to bless these families lives as much as
they’ve blessed mine”. – Darby Brackett, AHF Care Specialist