Juvenile Law Center

Ronnie L. Bloom

Executive Director
Stoneleigh Foundation

Penn Law Extern, Spring 1985

Lessons Learned

I went into my externship with Juvenile Law Center with very little understanding of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, but wanting to work on behalf of at-risk, vulnerable children. While there I certainly developed substantive content knowledge, but more importantly, I was fortunate to be exposed to problems that demanded a high degree of emotional intelligence. I remember one occasion very clearly when Bob took me to the Youth Study Center to visit with a young client there. Bob asked me to interview the boy. Mid-way through he gently pulled me aside, and in his usual humorous, yet kind way explained to me how to build trust with the child in order to get the information we needed to be able to help him. I remember thinking to myself at the time that I had a lot to learn from Bob, and admired how easily these things came to him. This was further reinforced in a home visit with the Juvenile Law Center staff social worker to a five year-old child who had suffered neglect and had recently been reunited with his family. I watched her communicate with the child and his mother, and was so impressed by the skilled, yet respectful manner in which she examined the child and interviewed the mother. The deep commitment to the needs of children and the values demonstrated at Juvenile Law Center have stayed with me throughout my career.

Impact on my Career

I practiced family law at a private law firm and eventually moved to a foundation and philanthropy. At the foundation, I oversaw the portfolio related to children and youth and was fortunate to be able to become re-acquainted with the Juvenile Law Center. Most recently, I joined the Stoneleigh Foundation, which works on behalf of vulnerable children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In accepting the position I felt that the arc of my career had come full circle back to my early experiences and the inspiration I found in working with Bob at Juvenile Law Center.

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