Over the course of the past few months, I have greatly struggled with pronouns. I find that I continue to say “we”, when I should be saying “you” or “they”. For example, I might say that “we need to get ready for the influx of holiday volunteers”, but in actuality, I should be saying “all of you need to get ready for the influx of holiday volunteers”. Preparing to leave any job is not an easy one, and it is made even more difficult when you feel so connected to a place that even your grammar cannot seem to accept the departure.
I first came to LPCS as a volunteer, helping Guests edit resumes and cover letters, serving meals, and making sack lunches. I always left LPCS feeling wonderful, like I had genuinely helped someone, even on the more difficult days I knew I was a part of something important. That is when I had an epiphany – what if I could feel like this every day? It was that simple thought which has brought me to where I am today. I cannot imagine working in any other way than helping people after being a part of the LPCS team.
The staff truly cares about the organization, the Guests, and each other. I have been proud to call my coworkers my friends as well. What I will miss the most are the people of LPCS. I will miss taking walks with Brianne around the neighborhood to help each other talk through frustrations. I will miss how every week I learned something new from Erin, and I hope that one day I can lead a team as powerfully and genuinely as she does. I will miss talking from our doorways to Betsy and hearing stories about Bobbie’s kids. I will miss Murray’s crazy and thoughtful gifts, the one liners that Linda says and should be recorded, and how Erika can always make me laugh in the morning. I will miss the dynamic volunteer duo with Lauren and watching her grow as a coordinator. Dick, Julie, Ebbie, and Denise are amazing interim housing coordinators that garner the respect of every Guest that stays here and are always helpful to all staff, William is a kind and dedicated employee, and the first time my car breaks down I will miss how Fernando was always there to help because he could fix anything. Every single person that works at LPCS brings something unique to the team, with one similarity, that we want to see the organization grow and the Guests succeed.
If I had the space, I would talk about all 1500 volunteers we have as well. All of our volunteers keep LPCS running, but more than that, they have become my friends and my teammates. I have so much respect for the volunteers that give their time and their money, every day, sometimes with meetings late into the night, because they care about the mission and want to be a part of the solution.
The mission of LPCS is to bring communities together to empower homeless men and women to make and sustain life changes. We absolutely do just that, and I am truly going to miss watching our Guests achieve their goals and celebrate their successes. We have the most amazing Guests here, so much so that often people do not believe we are not screening individuals. I have loved walking into work in the mornings to be greeted by Guests. I especially enjoy the Creative Writing class I lead where I can see first-hand how truly talented and creative our Guests are. When I first created Kick It Home, Chicago (the inter-homeless shelter kickball tournament), I had no idea that this single event would become one of my favorite days of the year spent with Guests. With the Health Initiative I set up a year ago, as much as I enjoyed our walking clubs and new classes, the greatest part was the end celebration where we participated in a 5K with the stronger and healthier Guests, who made sure every single person crossed the finish line. LPCS does not have one program, LPCS has 35 Individuals, hundreds of Graduates, and I will genuinely miss every one of them.
Thank you to every single one of You for all being a part of my experience at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, for being my friends, my supporters, my teammates, and for making this job an incredibly and painfully difficult one to say goodbye to.
Community Relations Manager (one final time)