URI Senior shares internship experience with Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange

Masks on. Hands sanitized. Sound levels balanced. A red dot appears at the top of the screen. We’re rolling.

While COVID-19 continued to be a prevalent problem this past summer, that didn’t mean other preexisting issues went away – one of them being the number of children who are in foster care.

As of today, there are approximately 2,800 children in Massachusetts’ foster care system looking for homes, according to the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange’s (MARE) website. 

This organization works hard to find children, who are waiting to be adopted, find a permanent home. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to assist this non-profit organization in doing so.

As a video production intern for MARE, I was also incredibly fortunate to have an opportunity to gain experience in the video production field. However, I was even more fortunate to have a chance to make a difference in many children’s lives. I met children as young as four years old who are more likely to get adopted, and teenagers who were getting closer to aging out of their programs. Every child was kind, fun and had different personality traits, but no matter their background they all want to be a part of a family in a forever home. 

Throughout the summer I worked through overcoming technical difficulties, language barriers and sensitive subjects to create snapshot videos that gave potential families a deeper look into who the child is as an individual. I wanted nothing more than the child’s personality to be fully embodied in the video as this was their time to be themselves. 

From the child’s perspective, it can be intimidating when a girl you have never met before shows up with a camera ready to make a video about you. A delicate part of my job was to make the child feel comfortable and to let them know that we’d only film what they’re comfortable with. A lot of these kids have been through a lot in their lives and I had to create some form of trust with them in a short time. However, the challenge of getting them comfortable with me is where the true connections were found.

A lot of kids opened up after a while and quickly became vocally curious about how the camera worked, and amazed at how the mic that was clipped on to their shirt could hear every little thing they said. Some would ramble on about their favorite sports teams, take into high consideration what ice cream flavor is truly their favorite and some even sang for me with the camera rolling. They taught me about the trends of their generation, making me feel older than I am while reminding me what it was like to be a kid. 

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to sum up all the feelings I felt this summer interning for a non-profit that served so much good in my home state. Interviews with the children and their social workers got emotional at times and realizing how sweet the children were would make you sad that they so badly wanted to become a part of a family. However, even with a mask on these children made me smile with their desires, jokes, and strength to put themselves out there. 

Yes, I’ve strengthened my visual storytelling skills but being a part of these children’s journeys to find a forever home is a more meaningful takeaway to me.

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Kayla Michaud
I’m doing this because I honestly think that by working for The Good Five Cent Cigar you receive a stronger more well rounded journalism education at URI. I’m here to put all my effort into learning more about the journalism field and acquiring the skills needed to be a journalist. While being an editor is a challenge, it’s a challenge I accept because while I’m constantly learning new ways to help reporters it’s also a position that helps myself identify what I can personally improve on. The position also helps me gain team building skills from working on a production team.