Monday, March 31, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Leight

We’re very excited to have Sarah represent LPCS as the Volunteer of the Month. Sarah is originally from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, but is back in Illinois after spending the last 7 years in Boston, and is excited to be living in this great city. She is currently a part time student in preparation for an MSW program that will begin in the fall of this year. In her free time, she likes to go to new restaurants, watch foreign movies, walking around the city, and getting to know all of the different neighborhoods.

How did you get involved with LPCS?
As a resident of Lincoln Park, I thought it would be a great way to get to know my community by volunteering in my own neighborhood.  After attending a fun and motivating orientation session at LPCS, I became interested in working at the front desk and participating in CEP.  The staff trained me thoroughly and encouraged my progress and I am so happy to be part of the amazing volunteer team at LPCS.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I always look forward to the welcoming and positive atmosphere at LPCS.  The guests and staff constantly emit an energy that promotes patience, understanding, and growth.   I enjoy getting to know my fellow volunteers, staff members, and guests, by learning about their unique and interesting personal stories and backgrounds. 

Watching IHC Manager, Linda Gibson, organize and run her Sunday community outreach program CEP, is astonishing!  She is a powerful and respected presence and I aspire to emulate her strength, sensibility, and compassion.

What I have learned from volunteering here:  
We are all the same! We may look different and act different from each other, but we all have something in common and we can all learn from each other.  Practicing being an open and communicative person in a safe and non judgmental place like LPCS helps you learn compassion and empathy and how to never treat a book by its cover.  Meeting new people and interacting with other volunteers and the community on a daily basis, has increased my self confidence and has given me experience in the field that I am excited to bring to my upcoming MSW program.

Advice for anyone volunteering/looking to volunteer:  
Volunteering in your own neighborhood gives you great perspective about the history of your town and how you can play a role in its future.  Choosing an organization that has diverse staff and guests gives you a well rounded view of social issues and the difficulties facing those in need.  Volunteering at least 4 hrs a week allows you to get to know the people at your organization and lets them get to know you! This way the relationships you make while volunteering can become more meaningful and fulfilling for you and for those you are devoting your time to.

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