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Corps Member

Served with Lutheran Volunteer Corps

  • Completed Service

    Kathleen (Katie) completed their Service Year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago, IL, US.

  • Something I’ve learned from my service year is…

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    I like to think of myself as a constant learner—a student of my personal and professional lives. Being a student implies a certain openness to new ideas, experiences, and skills. Plus, it's an acknowledgement that you are not the expert. Navigating a professional environment where you have to become an expert, or at the very least exude an air of accomplishment, can thus be quite daunting to a young professional.

    In a recent LinkedIn course titled, "Job Search Strategies," I learned blogs and Twitter are now considered platforms for promoting one's own brand of expertise. Despite being a Millennial, neither has garnered much attention from me. I dipped my toes into the blogging world during my study abroad, but stopped writing after visiting Dachau. No topic felt appropriate to discuss after being so emotionally drained by the concentration camp.

    Anyway, I technically *have* a Twitter account, but honestly created one so my phone would stop suggesting I do so. My preference for at least the semblance of privacy on social media also limits my following to friends and family, not necessarily the springboard to a popular, professional feed. Maybe it's time to give Twitter a better try.

    Trying new things. . .

    Before December 15th, I had never worked in a wood studio. Thanks to the AirBnB challenge, "Step Outside Your Comfort Zone," I got to participate in one of their Social Impact Experiences for FREE! These Social Impact Experiences are a new feature to their product line where hosts (in this case nonprofits) not only lead a group or individual in some kind of activity, but also garner all the proceeds. The nonprofit I chose to support is Rebuilding Exchange (@rxchicago), which diverts building materials from landfills and provides job training to individuals experiencing employment barriers.

    RX's mission couldn't be a better fit for my values, but also the values I share with my placement, Faith in Place. We are leading proponents of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA)—a state-level law that funds solar energy job creation. Part of the funding is reserved for returning citizens and foster care alumni, two populations with significant barriers to employment. RX also constructed our cubicles, a fact my colleagues and I are very proud to share. Naturally, I was thrilled to connect with RX personally and make something of my own.

    You can see in my picture below the cutting board I left with. Though, that wasn't the only thing to leave the shop that night. Carrie, the instructor, and her colleagues were so kind and supportive that I honestly had one of the best Friday nights in a long time! We spent quite a bit of time picking out a good piece of ash. When we found this one with its massive knot and nice thickness, the RX team knew the final product would be stunning. I trusted them. Carrie guided me through each step of the process, but it wasn't until the final sanding and oiling that brought out the true beauty of the wood.

    I left feeling proud for making a usable piece of art, for braving some power tools, and for finding contentment and connection with incredible people who share similar passions within the larger framework of social justice.

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  • A challenge I’ve faced in my service year is…

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    To supplement my experience with Lutheran Volunteer Corps, I joined Service Year 100, which is a pilot program being rolled out in five U.S. cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Its purpose is to support our professional development and grow our network through a series of four "challenges." They're more like activities with incentives if we complete and post about those activities. Anyway, I'm not going to get into semantics. My point is that I will periodically post here and on my social media about my experiences.

    Our first challenge was to find new friends in our placement city. For those of you who may not be familiar with Lutheran Volunteer Corps, one of its three main components is Community. The others are Spirituality and Simple/Sustainable Living. By this, I mean we are living in community with one another, forging relationships and digging deep about our shared values and about how we want our house to function. That right there is the most obvious answer I could give to this challenge.

    But, I like to dig deep. So, why stop there? This challenge is about building trust, friendship even, with strangers. As I have been mulling over how to respond, I remembered my placement at Faith in Place.

    I could not coordinate its Winter Farmers Market Program without developing trust with LOTS of strangers. Since I started in mid-August, my colleagues and I reflect on our varying communication styles & our personality types quite often. It's a challenge at times, but an invaluable learning experience! Each day, I gain new insights into how we work together or ways we can improve.

    Moreover, my colleagues make it possible for me - a newcomer to their interfaith network - to collaborate with Houses of Worship. That takes trust from all three parties to foster relationships which are mutually beneficial. What excites me moving forward is to see how these repationships will germinate!
    (Haha, germinate! 🌳)

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  • Joined Service Year!

    Kathleen (Katie) joined Service Year!

  • Started Serving

    Kathleen (Katie) began serving with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago, IL, US.

Service Year Experience