By Indiana State University
Feb 7, 2020
Destiny Cole, a senior in the social work program, has many life lessons and advice to share. Upon coming to Indiana State University, Cole changed her major numerous times before sitting down with Robyn Lugar, a professor in the social work department, and deciding on social work. Cole credits Lugar with being the catalyst in her decision to join the program. When asked how she discovered social work, she comments that “getting to talk to [Lugar] and noticing all of her accomplishments made me want to be like her.”
Cole has always known that she wanted to pursue a career dedicated to helping others and discovering social work helped her figure out how. She details her plan to become a therapist after graduation, but for now wants to focus on the advocacy side of social work. Cole gives a short anecdote of how she knew social work was for her. “Growing up as a kid, I always knew I wanted to help people,” she says, “but I never knew to what expect. When social work came along, I knew it was for me […] I get to really help people and be a voice for them.” Her volunteer position at the Boys & Girls Club and internship with the Department of Child Services have aided in her preparation for her future career. She has helped children develop healthy coping skills, as well as provide them with an escape from their school or home lives.
As a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club, Cole helped students with their homework, played games with them, and offered advice. With the age group at the Club ranging from 5 to 13, Cole feels that the kids have taught her patience both with herself and others and helped her learn to communicate better with younger people.
Cole has been an active participant on campus and is a peer mentor for iSucceed. She’s a mentor to 10 students and is responsible for building rapport with the students and meeting with them once a week to check in on grades, tutor, or offer any help they may need. Cole reiterates that she joined the social work program to help people and she gets that chance and experience by being so involved on campus. She’s watched freshmen in her major develop and find themselves, and the children at the Boys & Girls Club look up to her for pursuing a college education. “I’m a peer mentor and I see freshmen who come on campus lost and begin to find themselves. At the Boys & Girls Club, it’s good to see that they look up to me and when I talk about school, they say ‘that’s so cool!’ It’s a life-changing experience to have people look up to me.” Though Cole is seen as a role model for so many people, she remains humble and down-to-earth.
Through one of her professors, Hailey Lauritzen, Cole learned about the internship with the Department of Child Services. She works part-time with them and they pay her tuition for her last year of school. With 3-day work weeks, Cole is part of the assessment team at DCS which means she first reviews assessments from the DCS hotline and then meets and talks with children and makes sure their statements match with their parents’. Oftentimes she will be needed in court to testify on behalf of children and perform in-home services for families, like intensive therapy.
Cole shares that her internship has given her a dose of the real world and she feels she is ready to graduate and begin her career. BLUE has motivated her to keep going and be successful. It’s given her a family she wants to keep forever.