Intern delivers children’s program for local domestic violence shelter

When Kym Lodge ’13 tries to vocalize her dedication toward working with children in need, she struggles to choke down her emotions.

“Kids can’t fight for themselves,” she said. “They have so much pain sometimes, and there’s no one to stick up for them.”

This evident passion is exactly what distinguished Lodge as the ideal candidate for the Robert E. and Sally S. Evans Civic Engagement Internship Award. As the 2012 recipient, Lodge was paired with EVE Inc. in Marietta to serve as its summer Children’s Program Coordinator, a position designed to fit both her skills and desired path.

Lodge, a Psychology major from Lore City, Ohio, spent her summer creating and implementing a summer children’s program for EVE, one that gives the children of domestic violence situations an opportunity for positive self-growth. As part of her programming, Lodge spent her afternoons teaching the children lessons on self-esteem, conflict resolution, kindness, trust and tolerance.

“It may seem odd, but as kids of domestic violence, a lot of these concepts they don’t fully understand,” Lodge said. “Before I started this group, these kids would just come and play or go on long field trips. Now I have a lesson plan and topics to cover. I include a fun aspect, but I also teach them the information that’s important for them.”

Additionally, Lodge collaborated with EVE’s prevention specialist and worked with the parents of EVE to ensure they were aware of their children’s needs. This included leading parenting classes on topics such as stress relief and alternatives to spanking.

The Evans Civic Engagement Internship Program, established in 2010, provides its recipient up to $2,000 for living expenses, plus a $3,000 stipend. Lodge is its second recipient.

“Kym’s background in psychology made her a wonderful fit for this program,” said Arielle Jennings, Director of Civic Engagement. “She was able to apply the theoretical knowledge she gained from her courses in a practical way when developing the full-day school program curriculum.”

Lodge’s ultimate goal for her internship was to safeguard the sustainability of the program.

“I don’t want to be looked at as someone who was there this summer and then gone,” she said. “I want it to be something they look back on and appreciate its creativity. I want them to continue to use it after I’m gone.”

Going into her senior year, Lodge looks to the future as an opportunity to continue in this field. She plans to obtain a master’s degree and partner with a children’s hospital as a social worker. At the thought of the difference she could make, she again struggles to choke down her emotions.

“It’s amazing to see how a little love and attention can go a long way,” Lodge said.