Social work internship
$1,500 Grant awarded to gain experience
Leah Bowman ’24, a social work major from Lancaster City, Pa., has a passion for social justice and issues that affect women and children.
“It’s cliché but I’ve always wanted to help people,” said Bowman. “I also want to learn from people who’ve had different life experiences than I’ve had and to work toward changing systems that are unjust for certain groups of people.”
Making the most of her college experience, Bowman is currently completing an internship at Community Action Partnership of Lancaster with aid from Bluffton’s Summer Discovery Grant. The program provides a $1,500 grant for Bluffton students to develop an internship experience to explore their vocation.
This summer, Bowman is working with children who are living in a domestic violence safe house or transitional housing.
“We’re doing a lot of trauma informed care and a lot of activities around emotional regulation, but sometimes we just hang out with the kids,” explained Bowman. “Other times, there’s a parent-child activity and they come together, and we work with the group as a whole.”
Bowman also gained experience in the field while living and learning in Guatemala during the fall 2022 semester. For the first two months, she lived with a host family in Guatemala City and took classes at CASAS (Central American Study and Service). During the final month of the program, she moved to the Lake Atitlán region and volunteered with ANADESA, an organization supported by Mennonite Central Committee which supports indigenous women and children through education and community development.
“It made me realize social work is not just a westernized United States thing,” said Bowman. “There are global issues social workers can help with.”
On campus, Bowman is a member of the ministry team and will serve as a hall chaplain and coordinator for Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC). She is also a member of PEACE Club and Social Work Club.
“All of them fuel a different passion that I have,” Bowman explained. “And I’m glad that I have the broadness of activities to participate in. I love all of them, and I’ve met great friends in all the clubs, organizations and campus groups I’m part of.”
Bowman grew up Mennonite and chose Bluffton University after visiting campus and meeting the social work faculty.
“I looked around at the different Mennonite-affiliated colleges because I wanted to have that base influence in my college career,” said Bowman. “Bluffton stuck out to me as a very close-knit community.”