How Social Work Student Madeline Claude Helps Improve Her Community

“I love learning about social work and then getting to put what I’ve learned into practice in different situations in life."

Madeline decided to enroll in the social work program at UVU after moving back to Utah from New York with her husband. To her, service is of the utmost importance. “I enjoy working with people, serving them, and helping them to live their best life.”

Since 2018, Madeline has been working with the South Franklin Community Center in Provo. Sponsored by United Way of Utah County, the center works to improve the community by providing access to programs that provide individual growth and achievement, encouraging community participation and leadership, and offering opportunities for residents to become more invested and connected.

“I was actually assigned to be at the South Franklin Community Center for a practicum for my social work major,” Madeline said. “It wasn't my first choice, and I didn't know what to expect while working here, but I loved it right off the bat. I have enjoyed learning how a nonprofit organization works, and to see all that it can do for a community.”

Madeline has been instrumental in implementing and executing a variety of programs, specifically finding volunteers who can teach classes and spreading the word about the available programs to the community. “I am especially proud of my Wall Stories Project,” she said. “It’s been such a great way to highlight volunteers and participants in our programs. Anyone who comes in or visits our Facebook or Instagram pages will be able to see what great people we have at the center.”

“It’s fun to see the kids light up when they see their interview posted up in the center,” she said. “They see their name and they get so excited. The volunteers also feel appreciated for the work that they do in the center. It has brought the community together, and they feel more connected as a group.” 

But working at the community center isn’t without challenges. While Madeline hasn’t run up against any major roadblocks, she says that it’s really all the little things that can stunt the progress of the center. But, with the help of her fellow volunteers, she’s been able to overcome these challenges. “I love learning about social work and then getting to put what I’ve learned into practice in different situations in life,” she said. “My work at the community center has taught me about the nonprofit world and how it serves communities.”

After she graduates from UVU this spring, she plans to start grad school at the University of Utah almost immediately. After completing her master’s degree, including a practicum at Wasatch Mental Health, Madeline plans to get a “big kid” job and travel with her husband.

“Social work is not for everyone,” she said. “But if you feel that it’s for you, do it! It’s a tough but so very rewarding line of work.”