William Lynch is a senior political science & theology double major at Creighton. He is a summer intern at Voices for Children in Nebraska, focused on juvenile justice policy. Today is his last day with us this summer.
As I leave Voices for Children to go back to school full-time, I remember all that I’ve learned and done here. Immediately, before I think of anything else, I realize that I am very thankful for my time here. I was able to work and learn beside real professionals who care deeply for the children of Nebraska. Every day for the past three months, I saw them come into the office, motivated to affect positive change in Nebraska.
One thing I’m able to take away from this experience is the mindset of always striving for data based conclusions. As an advocacy organization, Voices for Children is sometimes pulled toward politics and it’s tempting to take the easy routes of theory and conjecture to get things done for kids. But as I’ve learned, good public policy change comes from numbers and harder evidence than that. The constant effort Voices for Children makes to find the best data available is something to be admired.
As part of my internship, I was assigned various data projects to assist with. Over time, I was even allowed to take on data projects in whole, on my own. It meant a lot to me that I was tasked with compiling and interpreting parts of the Kids Count in Nebraska Report, the definitive publication of Nebraska’s children’s statistics. The office made me feel part of the team by giving me significant work.
In all, I am able to look back on this summer with a smile. It gave me a chance to really learn about Nebraska’s juvenile justice system and similar systems in other states. I was also able to participate in issues ranging from children’s mental health to juvenile criminal sentencing. The breadth of issues I was able to work on has enriched me as a person and educated me as an amateur child advocate.