Katie MacKendrick

LIFT-Chicago is a resource center comprised entirely of Loyola University student volunteers and is supervised by two Site Coordinators from AmeriCorps.  We work one-on-one with clients who are at or below the poverty level to help them find jobs, housing, public benefits, legal help, and generally provide them with opportunities that will allow them to alleviate themselves from poverty.

After shadowing several client meetings and completing hours of preliminary training, I was ready to meet clients.  Ideally, I see four clients per week, as I am in the office four hours a week, so I have seen situations on all ends of the spectrum, from abused single mothers to incarcerated individuals to PhD holders who needed jobs. The success of these meetings varies.  Some meetings are frustrating, and we call ten apartments and they might not have openings or they might reject my client based on his or her credit score or assumed background.  Some meetings are sad, and I find out my client had three interviews two weeks ago and did not secure a job.  Most clients, however, have a glimmer of relief and optimism during their meeting, whether it’s because they secured an apartment viewing or because we applied to four jobs together, or even because I was able to listen to an issue they had in their life and was able to shed some light on it.

After a year-and-a-half of service at LIFT-Chicago, I've realized that the experiences I've had with our clients have taught me that I absolutely need to work with people: something that my sister has been telling me all of my life. I need to see that joy, to guide people through their life journeys in some way, to share jokes and smiles and tears. While I don't know how I will incorporate this into my career goals yet, I have this wonderful organization to thank for allowing me to see and experience what makes me truly happy, on both good and bad days. LIFT-Chicago has inspired me to become the best individual that I can be in the future and in the present.

View my ePortfolio at https://www.taskstream.com/ts/mackendrick1/WhyILIFTforLIFTChicago