Gratitude and Growth   Recently updated !

Over the summer, I’ve attended various online meetings with Community Renewal Society (CRS) staff as well as staff and volunteers from other organizations with a social justice focus. Although each of these meetings was important, there is one meeting in particular that stands out to me. This was a meeting that was hosted by CRS staff in light of recent acts of gun violence in Chicago. During this meeting, a coworker shared with all the meeting participants his gratitude for his breath and ability to be present at the meeting and in a space that welcomes conversation and change. I find that from this meeting and my internship overall, I also have a newly developed gratitude, not only for the blessing of breath but also for the opportunities CRS has provided me. I’ve recognized that while advocacy may be demanding at times, it is a privilege to be able to […]


CAPS: The Bridge Between My Past and Future

This has certainly been an amazing experience! I knew that the CAPS program was special, but I could never have foreseen just how much of an impact my time at The Bridge Teen Center would have on me. Now that I’m just one short week away from the end of my internship, I feel that this is an excellent time to reflect on what I’ve learned about myself as a person during the past three months. Before I joined the CAPS program, I had never taken much time to think about what the words “calling” and “purpose” mean as they apply to my life and career. Having reflected on the work I’ve done at The Bridge, I have come to define “calling” as the external force that draws you toward a particular line of work and “purpose” as your internal driving force, i.e., the reason why you are drawn to […]


Confessions

Like many other students during the 2022 spring semester, I began wondering what my summer would look like. I started applying for internships and jobs, and I was offered a job I was more than content with. I was then advised by someone I value very much that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. Honestly, I was not happy about that; I had my summer planned and I was now being told that I needed a whole new plan. Nevertheless, after a lot of reflection both internally and externally I decided to put myself in an uncomfortable situation. I turned down the position and started applying for new opportunities. When I began my search I honestly had no idea which ones I would be accepted for or if I would receive any of them, but that’s not the confession… Truthfully I had not given much hope to the […]


Goodbye Summer, Hello Patience and Consistency

As the summer comes to a close, it is now time to wrap up projects that I have been working on as an intern in the advancement department at Concordia Place. Since my last blog post, I have done a lot of short term projects and a couple of long term projects. One of the highlights from a short term project that I worked on was creating flyers for a gala that Concordia Place is having in November. While I was creating the flyers, I surprised myself because I didn’t think that making flyers would be something that I would enjoy. I actually put flyer making as the last thing for me to do on my to-do list, ironically. I had no idea that I would like it so much! I loved being creative and being able to create different looks to advertise the gala.  Additionally, in relation to the […]


Hearts of Service: Encouraging Confidence in Teenage Students   Recently updated !

Being on such a student-driven team at The Bridge has encouraged me to be more intentional about my connections with students and take every opportunity to make a program more excellent and learn about the purpose of specific programs. Recently, I was able to volunteer to help with our Welding program where the students made steel farm animals while practicing their welding skills. As I was talking to the professional welders who came to volunteer for this program, we conversed about how important student exposure to skilled trades was and how teenage students do not get many opportunities to learn more about trades like welding, let alone get hands-on experience with it. This informed my connection with students during that program because I knew to encourage them that it was not about making the finished product perfect but that mistakes are needed to get better and that they can sign […]


Keep on Running Your Race

Since my last blog post, my time here at the Bridge has remained busy, and it is hard to believe that I only have two more weeks of work left. In the past weeks, I have been able to start planning the fall volunteer appreciation event, attend a behind-the-scenes field trip to a local church, and assist in training volunteers. I have also continued to help with volunteer events and student programs, and I even had the chance to lead a few of my own, something that previously would have scared me. While most volunteer groups will only come for two or three hours, there was a group a few weeks ago that dedicated six hours of their day for three days in a row to serving at the Bridge. This was a group of fifteen hardworking high school students and five dedicated chaperones. On one of the days, we […]


Finding the Magic of the Guild

I find it difficult to believe that my time here at the Grünewald Guild is coming to a close. Over the past two months I have met such incredible people! There is a magic to this sacred ground. The people, hands-down, have been the greatest part of my summer. The staff and rotating volunteers are such a joy to work with. We approach our weekly duties with humanistic focus. The directors do not micromanage or nitpick, rather everything is a conversation, a dialogue, and we are truly a team. In one of our last weeks a participant noted that the tone of the community was set by the way the staff interacts with one another. This brings up another facet of my Guild experience that is so rewarding. I get to take part in and see the way the community dynamic emerges each week. I’ve gotten to meet people from […]


Fancy Clothes, Totes, Music, and So Much More

Since the last time we spoke, a lot has happened. Another first Friday has come and gone. This time, the interns decided to establish a dress code: fancy. This might have been one of my best-dressed nights of the whole summer. Sporting a striped brown tie, my evening pearls, a black mini dress, and the most important item, sunglasses. Fancy indeed! For this first Friday, I was a map hander outer, the first face that people see for the night. I also was a gallery attendant for the underground and hank and dollys.  This internship is bringing out skills that I didn’t know I had. One example is that I was tasked with sewing tote bags. Why would possibly be asked to do that you may be thinking? The answer is that we have tons of extra vinyl from the billboard that hangs proudly on 16th street and that Joana […]


Trusting My Calling

Just as quickly as the first day of Lutheran Summer Music arrived, so did the last day. The morning started off exceptionally rainy, initially making it a gloomy move-out day for LSM students and their families. I spent most of the morning preparing for medication check-out and packing up some of my own belongings as well. Knowing that this would be the last day of LSM, I felt a multitude of emotions: excitement to go home and spend time with my family, fatigue, and general worry about how the day would go. I thought that saying goodbye to students and their families would be a quick process, but I was happily mistaken. As I met with each student and their families, some of them expressed appreciation that I had not anticipated. One parent expressed gratitude for the time that I spent caring for their student. Another parent wrote me a […]


Kheprw and the Support of the POC Community in Indianapolis

Since my last blog post the workload at Kheprw for me has increased. Since we last talked I’ve been assigned to a couple of projects, one of those tasks is reaching out to partnered organizations to assist with business and guest speaking for the Alkemy space, which is an entrepreneur incubator space that builds community wealth in under-resourced communities of color by supporting entrepreneurs. One of the many reasons for this space to exist is, because of the racial wealth gap that exists between people of color and caucasians, for example in 2015 in Indianapolis: 10% of white people lived in poverty, compared to 26.3% of people of color; Unemployment was 5.3% for white people and 10% for people of color; the median hourly wage for white people was $22/hour and $16/hour for people of color. A way in which Alkhemy is planning to address this is by investing in […]


We All Live Downstream

Lately, I’ve been thinking about an article I read by Steve de Gruchy, an author specializing in theology, ethics, and philosophy. The title is “Dealing with Our Own Sewage: Spirituality and Ethics in the Sustainability Agenda.” The primary purpose of the article is to emphasize the severity of the freshwater crisis, and how everyone must do their part to live more sustainably. One phrase from de Gruchy’s article keeps echoing in my mind: We all live downstream. So, how does this relate to my CAPS fellowship? When recognizing that we all live downstream, one will realize that our decisions have resounding effects everywhere. Our choices do not affect just us– there are people “downstream” who will experience the ramifications of our actions. In his article, de Gruchy specifically uses this metaphor to describe water pollution. Earthly resources are finite; if we pollute the water here, it will eventually make its […]


The Life and Spirit of the Guild

This past month at the Guild has been full of amazing opportunities and wonderful people. It has been so exciting to have our first three weeks of programming and meet so many new people. The beauty of the Guild is the connections and community that forms over just a week. While many participants have been coming to the Guild for years, some participants, like myself are brand new. The community that forms between old-timers, newcomers, and staff, is truly a wonder to be a part of. The Guild is able to facilitate open and engaging conversations through art and our matins and vespers services that invite guests and staff to be open and vulnerable with one another. The best part of the Guild is getting to interact with and get to know so many incredible people from different walks of life. It is so wonderful to listen to people’s stories […]


Valuing Community in a Challenging World

In search of a project to undertake in my first couple of weeks, I was offered an opportunity that would prove to test my patience, endurance, and willingness to reflect and grow. I was given the project of running two market stands for farmer’s markets. It was an endeavor I had to build from the ground up, and I could feel the pressure increase day to day as I worked out numerous details and handled an array of tasks all at once. I had been given no formula, no formal training, and no real instruction other than: get it done. Despite this, the support I received from Kheprw members was infinitely comforting and motivating. Whether it be a supportive conversation, or a quick and helpful reply to a question I needed answered, everyone wanted the project to succeed, and that was integral to its success. The process did not come […]


What Can I Do?

Since my last blog post, my internship has picked up a lot–not that it wasn’t busy before, however I can officially say that my training period is over. Now, my work days are packed with meetings with participants that I am leading and my independent work has really taken off. Honestly, I love it. When the work day ends, I do not want to leave. Not only this, but sometimes I do not feel like I should–the work is never done and all of it is urgent. I think that this is the challenge of human rights work, that, among other things, you are entrusted with the pressing matters of many people to help them find solutions to the best of your ability and yet, somehow, hit pause at 5 pm. How can you attend to the rest of your life knowing that their needs continue?  Since getting to know […]


Putting a “Focus” on Service

“The only consistent thing in this world is the presence of change.” My three years at Valpo have demonstrated the truth in this adage, which happens to be one of my grandfather’s favorites. I have seen how each new semester brings with it a host of changes: I encounter new concepts, new people, new experiences. Although I am grateful for the variety of each semester, I often find myself getting used to the pattern of change in college life. However, I’ll occasionally encounter an experience that I know from the beginning will alter me as a person in a major way. This summer, that experience was my CAPS internship at The Bridge Teen Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an internship, having never done one before, but I was looking forward to working as a Media and Program Intern at The Bridge. I love photography and in the […]


Continuing the Dialogue Around Injustice

This summer, I am blessed with the opportunity to be an intern at Community Renewal Society (CRS), a faith-based social services organization in Chicago that addresses systemic and structural social justice issues. Given that the organization works remotely due to the pandemic, I complete my work from home. I am a part of CRS’ Social Media Team and my tasks largely consist of posting content written and published by CRS and from outside sources, such as news outlets, to the organization’s social media platforms and website. In doing so, I have gained experience thinking and acting quickly on my feet as events do not always have an outlined schedule for when they happen, and therefore, the news may need to be shared with urgency. As a quieter person, I have been given a voice to amplify the injustices that occur in everyday life, especially those imposed on the poor, convicted, […]


Appreciating the Challenges

“Calling and Purpose”… That’s the big question that everyone ultimately hopes to find, and that is exactly why it is one of the hardest questions to answer. For years I would talk about what I believe my calling is meant to be; I would share my dreams of wanting a nonprofit for minority youth while being a computer science major and business minor. Even though it may have seemed as if I was confident in my purpose I would secretly think to myself that it didn’t make sense. There were days I would sit and contemplate all the different scenarios or obstacles I could possibly encounter. Are my dreams too big or not big enough? Can I actually manifest these concepts into reality? What will it take to make it happen? Am I the right person to pursue this ambitious goal? My thoughts were starting to become overwhelming and paralyzed […]


Summertime Storyteller

CAPS Fellows Program has been an experience unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Aside from it being a non-profit organization, it’s honestly one of the best experiences of personal growth I’ve ever been a part of. My experience through the CAPS Fellows Program has provided an enriching experience in what actually happens on a day-to-day basis at a non-profit as well as a business. So far this experience has been one that has really made me start to self-assess how I go about getting things accomplished. A friend of mine by the name of Lem Cartman has a quote that he always says and it really resonates with me because it’s true. It goes, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change.” Throughout this experience, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I love to listen and learn about people’s different experiences and […]


My Kind of Summer

Working with Concordia Place this summer has been an enlightening and unforgettable experience that I will be forever grateful for. In my role as an intern at Concordia Place, I am working with the advancement team, which means that I am helping out with fundraising agendas, and not only have I been able to work and experience what it is like to reach out to different companies and organizations and inform them of Concordia Place’s mission, I also have been able to work on a variety of projects at my internship. For example, a long term project that I am working on is evaluating how the data gathered for our teen programs can be most effective in relaying the information to donors and parents. This has been a challenging task for me because I have never done anything like it before and I would really like to thank my supervisor […]


A Strength Within Every Individual

Prior to interning for the Red Cross I always used to look at group projects as a sort of chore. Now don’t get me wrong, I love working with other people. I just always felt that the distribution of work always seemed to be unequal. By that, I mean someone, usually me, would get stuck with doing most of the work. As a result, I subconsciously began to perceive group projects as burdensome and generally inefficient. Because of my experiences with the Red Cross, I now know that I was completely wrong. Working with other people to solve problems and complete tasks is the best way to get things done–especially in the world of humanitarian aid. Every individual has walked a different path of life and has experienced the world through their own perspective. Those differing experiences and perspectives strengthen a group’s ability to problem solve and to grow as […]