During the last week, I have been settling in at the WLP. As part of my training, I’ve had to do quite a bit of reading. The WLP has very thick training manuals covering family law, no-fault divorces (in its own separate binder), employment law, welfare services, and much more. I’ve also read nearly every resource available to the public on the WLP’s website.
The materials are all really interesting and I’m learning about topics in which I have no previous background knowledge. What is even more educational is listening in on the calls the trained counselors make. As part of every Telephone Counselor’s training, she has to listen in (with the caller’s permission) to an experienced counselor giving information to a caller. Each caller has his or her own story and set of questions that the counselor tries to address. Counselors follow-up with callers later to see how their situations are progressing. Some people seem to have hopeful resolutions to their problems, others do not. (All of the calls to the WLP are confidential, so I can’t write any specific details about the service on this blog. If you’re interested to know what information the WLP does provide to its callers, you can read about the service on the WLP’s website.
As well as being trained for telephone counseling, I have also begun work on the WLP’s Outreach program. Currently, I am working with some of the other interns to identify neighborhoods that might benefit from WLP going out into the community and distributing information about the services it provides and talking to people individually. I’m crunching through spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of data to try and identify key neighborhoods. I haven’t come up with much yet, but I have started to memorize Philadelphia’s different zip codes!
[Written June 4th]