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Graduate turns practicum into career helping Corvallis homeless

Regan Benitez, BS ’21, always knew she wanted to work with people and make a difference. A practicum working with the homeless gave her the chance.

By Alexis Croisdale

Regan Benitez, BS ’21, always knew she wanted to work with people and make a difference. As a human development and family sciences major in Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, she was building the foundation to do so but she didn’t know where it would lead. 

“In the very beginning, I wanted to help in so many areas, such as domestic violence, the homeless, in foster care,” Regan says.  

When representatives from Community Outreach Inc. (COI), a local nonprofit social services organization, spoke to Regan’s introduction to human services class, she found her calling. 

COI offers a range of services to help people help themselves and others lead healthy, productive lives, including transformational housing, medical clinics, treatment care, childcare and more to move families and individuals from crisis to self-sufficiency. 

Regan completed her CPHHS practicum with COI, which lead to an internship and employment. She assists with restocking pantries and toiletry items, creating monthly food boxes, engaging in community outreach, finding and sharing resources, and what she says is the best part—connecting with residents.  

“Through interning and working here, I was able to see how passionate I am about working with the homeless,” she says. “It is such a big need, and there is a lot of ignorance that surrounds the subject. I want to be a part of diminishing that.” 

Starting in Fall 2021, Regan will attend Portland State University’s Master of Social Work program with a business administration concentration. She hopes to one day open her own homeless shelter and continue supporting those in need.  

“Do whatever makes you the most passionate, do whatever you love, and serve those in need,” she says.