Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meet an LPCS Graduate!

We love to share to good news when someone graduates from LPCS.  Here is the story of one individual who graduated in the late spring of this year:

Allen* entered the shelter several years ago with a long history of alcoholism, big gaps in his employment history, and going through some serious depression and anxiety.  His case manager was able to connect him to mental health treatment on a regular basis.  In addition, he entered into outpatient treatment for his alcohol problems and went to several support group meetings per week.  Allen had never received his high school diploma and entered into a GED class.  Slowly over time his mood began to improve and he developed a much more positive attitude.  He diligently attended his GED classes over several months and though he initially failed one part of the exam, with the help of a volunteer tutor he was able to overcome that difficulty and did obtain his GED.  He also took a computer class, attended a job readiness program, and a job training program as well.  Recently, he was even asked to be a tutor to other GED students where he had taken classes.  Finally, after a long wait, he was able to move into his own large one bedroom apartment and become permanently housed in the community.  He has now been sober for over 2 years.

*Name has been changed to protect anonymity.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A New Journey

As the new Program Intern at LPCS, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and to express my gratitude to the guests, staff, and volunteers for welcoming me so graciously into the LPCS family. My name is Keri Arnholz. I currently reside on the North side of Chicago. I am a social work graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a concentration in Community Health and Urban Development. I have joined LPCS for my final year in grad school.

After almost six years working in social services, I remain committed as ever to issues of social justice, including homelessness and poverty. My previous experience in acute & long-term inpatient settings has helped me become more aware of the importance of community-based organizations in promoting long-term self-sufficiency and a greater quality of life. As a proponent of empowerment practice, it has been exciting to see how this concept is truly present throughout all programs, activities, and day-to-day interactions at LPCS. It has also been exciting to witness an interim housing model, including wrap-around services after learning about the increased emphasis on its importance in combating homelessness. LPCS embodies all of the major components of the interim housing model in a way that I never imagined I would find.

It is my honor to be a part of this organization. I look forward to learning from the insight and knowledge of staff, volunteers, and guests, as well as utilizing my experience to contribute to the LPCS mission.

Thank you!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome Elli!

Around this time of year, the staff at LPCS say goodbye to familiar faces, and welcome new ones.  LPCS, like many other non-profit agencies, utilize various volunteer service corps to fill certain positions (such as AmeriCorps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, etc.). Working with these groups is a wonderful experience both for LPCS and the volunteer.  Volunteers bring with them a fresh perspective and wonderful ideas.  For the volunteer, they get to learn or improve a new set of skills.  So this fall, as we get ready to say goodbye to Julia Weegar, our Volunteer Coordinator and AmeriCrops*VISTA for the past year, we welcome Elli Krandel who will be taking over Julia's role as Volunteer Coordinator.  So, in her own words, is a little bit about Elli!

Hi! My name is Elli Krandel. Originally from Woodstock, Illinois, I attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where I received a degree in Economics, and I am super excited to start this next part of my life by working for LPCS. I will be joining LPCS as the new Volunteer Coordinator, and as an AVODAH fellow.

AVODAH is a year-long service program for people in their 20s combining work at non-profit agencies with pluralistic Jewish learning and living, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.

I have always been interested in various social justice issues. In college, I was the treasurer for an organization called Challah for Hunger, which sells challah, a traditional Jewish bread, to raise money for various non-profit organizations. When I found AVODAH, I was really excited about the opportunity to explore my passion for anti-poverty work, while continuing to investigate the connection between Judaism and social justice work. I was equally excited when I saw the opportunity to work at LPCS. I think the work the shelter does is incredible, and I cannot wait to do my part to help the organization continue providing vital services to the community.

So join us in welcoming Elli to the LPCS team!