The Intern Perspective

As my time here at GC comes to a close, I’ve decided to take a small moment to reflect back. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Katie McCombie and I’ve been working as a Marketing Intern at Generations Crossing since October. As a current JMU student studying Public Relations, I thought this would be excellent work experience for me. I was eager to get some hands-on, “real world” job training and join the GC team. I had no idea it would end up offering me so much more than that.

Entering into my position, I thought I was vaguely familiar with the idea of adult day care and what being a caregiver meant. My grandmother had taken care of my grandfather for some time, a long while ago, when he had Alzheimer’s; but my memories of that experience became fogged as I got older. Within my first few weeks at GC I realized I had no idea the extent of the life-changing program that Generations Crossing provides in human services.

In my time here, I’ve gotten to know some of the truly exceptional individuals who come through Generations Crossing as both caregivers and participants. I’ve done everything from conducting interviews for blog stories to playing Charades during the intergenerational time. And throughout all of this, I’ve realized that “caregiver” and “participant” are just labels that represent so much more. A caregiver is not just someone’s loved one, but oftentimes also their nurse, their chef, their GPS device, their shoulder to lean on, their best companion, and the person they’ve turned to in the most difficult stage of their lives. And our participants are not just members of adult day care, but also servicemen, artists, singers, workers, fathers, mothers, siblings, world travelers, and dreamers.

Caregiving is a full time job, and the men and women I’ve spoken to are some of the strongest, kindest, and hardest working individuals I have ever come across. At our Caregivers Conversations I was moved to tears by some of the trials these people sought advice for, but ultimately emboldened by their resilience. We are socialized from birth to look up to our men and women in uniform (and I do, of course). But through my time at GC I’ve learned that some heroic human beings are the ones who blend in, carrying out one of the most challenging job titles of all time – caregivers.

So thank you, Generations Crossing, for teaching me not just practical work experience, but also a valuable lesson in what is means to attend adult day care and be someone’s caregiver.

Thank you Laurie for your endless kindness, patience, and willingness to let me take advantage of every opportunity possible within this internship. I truly couldn’t have asked for anything more fulfilling.

And thank you to each and every caregiver and participant who I have had the pleasure to meet, for showing me what it means to have strength of character, a generous spirit, and a positive attitude towards the hurtles life throws our way. My time here feels invaluable.