When it came time for University of Michigan social work student Kelly Bertoni to partner with an organization for her field placement, there was only one place she wanted to be.
“Meals on Wheels was the only organization I interviewed with,” said Bertoni, who became a valuable part of the team during the two semesters spent at YMOW.
Kelly, who came to be known as “Kelly B.” during her time at YMOW, graduated with a master’s degree in social work but kept on reporting to work at YMOW even after she had her degree in hand.
“There was a lot of work to be done,” said Kelly, who exceeded her required 346 hours both semesters.
As Kelly learned about social work through her work with YMOW staff, she helped to develop new support programs for YMOW clients and created surveys to help collect the experiences and opinions of clients, student interns and volunteers. She also contributed time and work to YMOW’s summer food truck fundraisers, creating a kids’ corner with activities to engage Ypsi’s youngest neighbors in the work of YMOW.
Topping her long list of accomplishments is her role in the establishment of Care on Wheels, a new program that provides household chore and laundry help to YMOW clients in need of help. Working with YMOW social workers Megan Berry and Kaitlyn Hartzog, Kelly played a key role in seeing this new program into reality.
“She’s not only interested in learning and absorbing, but contributing and bringing new ideas to our organization,” said Volunteer Manager Jessica Cichowlas. “She was always prompt, professional, and willing to do anything.”
Kelly said she was familiar with home-delivered meals provided by Meals on Wheels before beginning her time with YMOW. But it wasn’t until her internship began that she learned just how much YMOW provides to the homebound residents of Ypsilanti.
“There are so many different programs. It really is more than a meal,” she said.
Thanks to Kelly, that’s more true than ever before.