Monday, July 28, 2014

Farewell Lauren: Looking back at one year

It is hard for me to believe how much I have grown and learned during the past 11.5 months.  I can't say I didn't have a skewed perception of what homelessness "looks like". It has absolutely been an eye-opening year; both in my job and in living with my housemates who were also Lutheran Volunteers. 

It would take just too long to talk about my appreciation of the altruism I have seen from the community; the dozens of emails and phone calls each week from people wanting to donate their time. I am impressed daily by the fact that volunteers stay here every night, cook a delicious meal each night, and sincerely want to do good. I will fondly remember the volunteers that would make time in their busy schedule to give back.
I am thankful for getting to know the Guests. I'll always remember the joking around, coming into my office just to chat, hearing about their new apartment, or the unexpected "thank you" note at my desk in the morning for no reason.  

There are many, many things they just don't teach you in college; I've just scratched the surface of learning more about these important and prevalent issues and look forward to constantly learn more.

I can't talk more highly about the incredible group of staff members that keep LPCS going every day. I've never seen such hardworking, talented and dedicated folks. Each day the Interim Housing Coordinators would be running around all over the shelter, and the Case Managers would be running around all over Chicago; all of this with great passion, empathy, and enthusiasm. Despite their lists of endless tasks, they are willing to help out when in need. I was so impressed with how the staff welcomed me and helped me grow, when knowing I would only be here for a year. 

I think it's fair to say that LPCS and LVC has guided me into the next step of my life. I've learned to love (and stay in) the beautiful city of Chicago, I've gained a passion and ongoing yearning to learn about social issues, and have decided to attend UIC for the Social Work Program. 

I couldn't think of a better way to spend my year. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of it.