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Cedarville senior’s internship takes a turn amid pandemic

Cedarville senior Hayley Penrose, a social work major scheduled to graduate next spring, has been serving this summer with the Clark County Combined Health District. CONTRIBUTED
Cedarville senior Hayley Penrose, a social work major scheduled to graduate next spring, has been serving this summer with the Clark County Combined Health District. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

When Springfield resident Hayley Penrose accepted a summer internship at the Clark County health department, helping her community through a global virus outbreak was not in the scope of what she imagined.

However, Penrose embraced and rose to the challenge.

Penrose, a Cedarville University senior studying social work, took an internship with the Clark County Combined Health District in the spring and was originally tasked with working with the district’s “Help Me Grow” program for mothers and their children.

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By May, she was part of a 16-person staff working with epidemiologists, contact tracing positive COVID-19 cases.

“I received positive cases of COVID-19 from test centers, then I did over-the-phone intakes to discover all the individuals that the client, who was positive with COVID-19, may have come in contact with during the time when they were contagious,” Penrose said.

In the middle of June, Penrose started helping the district’s Housing and Support Needs Team, where she fulfilled requests for Clark County residents who are isolated or quarantined. Penrose began delivering essential items like food, water, cleaning supplies, thermometers, hygiene products and more to people all over Clark County.

“I now fill 10 to 20 needs/requests each day with the housing and needs request team,” Penrose said. “This job is very rewarding because I get to help the community continue to heal and feel better.”

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Penrose’s social work talents shined through when she also helped residents understand that, though she understands wearing a mask might not be ideal, it’s important.

“Many times, a mask can be uncomfortable, but COVID-19 is even more uncomfortable,” Penrose told people. “I don’t mind wearing a mask and practicing social distancing as a health measure if it means I can help my community heal from the pandemic.”

In addition to professional growth, Penrose said her experience with the health district has helped her own spiritual growth.

“I have seen the beauty that lies within all kinds of people,” she said. “I have found God helping to reveal the inner workings of how each individual is created uniquely. If God wanted us all to be the same, he would have created us the same.”