Rinn Ramcke, Wittenberg class of 2021, recently completed an internship with Project Jericho, a program that provides in-depth performing and visual arts camps and workshops to make art and cultural experiences available to all youth and families in the Clark County community during the spring semester of the 2018-19 school year.
Usually, Ramcke volunteers during Open Studio, which takes place every Monday after school, to help motivate participants to get their work done and push kids to take their art skills to the next level. This is a time where kids from schools all over Clark County can complete art projects and spend time with their peers. They are currently working with an artist who is helping kids paint and design a new Little Library.
Knowing what the Project Jericho participants go through outside of their art programs is the biggest challenge Ramcke faced during her recent internship. Most of the kids are recommended for the program by case workers, foster parents, and even the juvenile court judge. They have experienced more than most people could even imagine, and the majority aren't even 16 years old yet.
However, Ramcke says they are the most amazing, strong, and funny kids she has ever met. The best part of being involved with Project Jericho are the little wins. Whether it’s watching a kid who struggles with being social make a new friend, or seeing separated siblings reunite at a program, Ramcke says she can't imagine spending her time anywhere else.
When asked about her most memorable internship experience, Ramcke said, “During the last day of Winter Family Arts Camp, the mom of one of our families was beaming with pride at the art her family had made, and it was just amazing to watch her have all of this confidence when showing it to strangers from Job and Family Services. It was truly a special moment that I will never forget.”
The best advice she could give to potential future volunteers and interns is that working with Project Jericho means you need to be honest and authentic. She says that kids can sniff out an impostor from a mile away. When connecting her time at her internship to her psychology course work, Ramcke noted, “We have the opportunity to address a number of the needs on Maslow's Hierarchy (covered in Psyc 140 & Psyc 150), starting with giving them safety (although, some programs also provide food and beverages, addressing basic physiological needs, too). It allows youth to work on themselves as individuals and build self-efficacy and self-esteem. Art is an amazing form of expression, and Project Jericho is essentially like art or other expressive therapies without the therapy.”
While this is not a paid internship, Ramcke has been able to meet people working in her intended career, which is social work. In her own words, “Project Jericho is really special; it gives kids a place to fail freely and feel supported. I would give anything to give this program the support, funding, and publicity it truly deserves.”
Update: In 2020, Rinn became the first Wittenberg student to take advantage of the 3+2 program in partnership with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, the top-ranked school of social work at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio. Click here to learn more about the 3+2 program.