Our journey with Dorcus

Insights from an IVEP supervisor

Dorcus Sibanda checks in guests at Skills Auction, a fundraising event for The Conflict Center.

The Conflict Center (TCC) has worked with MCC and IVEP through four intern placements. To help our newest IVEPer, Dorcus Sibanda from Zimbabwe, transition smoothly into her life in Colorado and her work at TCC, our staff has been intentional in creating a warm, welcoming environment in which Dorcus might be comfortable asking questions and feel a sense of belonging.  

The first few weeks of her time here were filled with new things to learn. Dorcus met with each staff member individually to learn more about their positions and the ways in which she might support them. Because of TCC’s long history working with interns, an orientation folder was accessible with detailed guides for various tasks as she explored the objectives of her workload. 

The Conflict Center’s staff together at Skills Auction event.
The Conflict Center’s staff together at Skills Auction event. Photo Courtesy of The Conflict Center

As Dorcus’ supervisor, I prioritized finding her the supplies she needed to feel successful in the new position and checked in with her frequently in the first few weeks. Dorcus also worked with TCC’s Executive Director Beth Yohe to become familiar with Denver’s public transportation system. That gave Dorcus the opportunity to move around independently and to go on excursions by herself as she became more familiar with the city of Denver.  

Dorcus was not the only one learning at the beginning of her internship. The TCC staff were eager to get to know Dorcus. Her first assignment was to create a presentation about herself for a staff meeting. In this presentation, Dorcus shared about her life in Zimbabwe, her family and her interests.

As the year has progressed, Dorcus has branched out to experience even more aspects of TCC’s work in schools, in addition to the various events and activities that Denver has to offer. As she becomes more familiar with TCC’s mission, Dorcus is encouraged to integrate her own skills and interests into furthering the work that we do at TCC.

One such project began in September. Dorcus worked with two other interns to develop an eight-week social media campaign designed to spread awareness of and strategies for restorative practices for teachers and administrators in schools. The group has complete autonomy in designing and executing this project, though center staff are providing periodic support and guidance. Through this project, Dorcus creates graphics for school staff, analyzes data collected from schools across the Denver metro area and learns about restorative practices in-depth. This practice of creating, organizing and presenting information will culminate in a professional development project that Dorcus is creating and will present in May. Dorcus is currently in the process of researching ways in which her International Relations degree overlaps with the work that TCC does with restorative practices.  

TCC continues to support Dorcus through weekly check-in meetings and an open-door policy for any questions or support. Dorcus is often invited to outings and events with her co-workers and is encouraged to take time off periodically to explore and have fun in Colorado!