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Social Work Intern Helps DCFS Office Win IKEA Challenge

IUC Intern and Field Instructor Make a Difference for Kids and Families at DCFS

Ikea Challenge Winners

Department of Children and Family Services Field Instructor, Roberta “Robbie” Thomas has worked as a CSULB Social Work Field Instructor for DCFS/IUC Interns for 10 years.  Through her guidance and support, our social work interns have engaged in some great learning experiences.  Robbie always ensures that anything that CSULB students work on is directly related to the DCFS core practice, mission statement and CalSWEC competencies.  One such project involved a dilemma of how to improve the DCFS South County “Children’s Visitation Rooms” for parents and children.  Over the years, these rooms had fallen into disrepair and were in need of a major make-over.  In fact, it was seven years ago that another CSULB social work intern saw the room with its dated toys and furniture and suggested that as a service project, social work interns could work on securing funds to remodel the room to make it more appealing to children and families. 

So this year, CSULB social work intern, Tracy Souder, took on that challenge.Tracy was determined to receive a donation from IKEA stores where they were promoting the IKEA LIFE IMPROVEMENT CHALLENGE which consisted of local agencies competing for a $10,000 work space make-over. Tracy researched all the necessary information needed for the IKEA application, took photographs of the proposed project, and worked with Robbie to secure DCFS administration approval. Tracy even met with the IKEA Marketing Specialist and talked about how the IKEA mission statement and the DCFS mission statement were both similar in their efforts to provide a safe environment for all children. Tracy’s application was one of the hundreds received by IKEA.

Finally, on February 1st, the DCFS South County office received the awesome news that they had won the $10,000 make-over challenge from IKEA!  As a result, an interior designer from IKEA has now visited the office for consultation and they are now completing sketches of the new children’s room and client interview rooms. Soon, IKEA will begin construction on the project and they should have new state-of-the-art children’s rooms by June, 2012.  All this was a result of the hard work and persistence of CSULB Social Work student, Tracy Souder, and IUC Field Instructor, Robbie Thomas. 

The DCFS/IUC Intern unit has shown that they are able to make a difference by being committed to the goal of creating a safe and nurturing environment for all the children who come through the doors of DCFS.

Photo: Tracy Souder (Left) and Robbie Thomas (Right)