Aug 02, 2012 | By Katelyn Eichorst, Summer Intern
I do not have much time left here at NETWORK. My internship flew by and I am not sure how it happened. I recently wrote a blog post talking about how I felt before I got here, now I am writing a blog about the end. I guess the old saying is right, time flies when you are advocating for the dignity of all human beings.
In my last blog, I discussed the issue of isolation from people who are poor and how this makes some people blind to the issues. Although I have been directly involved in service throughout the school year, I did not take the time in DC to get to know people who are suffering. I am very disappointed in myself because of this. Usually I am very good about making that a priority.
Luckily, I did have one experience actually working with people who are affected by policy. Other interns from faith organizations and I attended a volunteer event at Christ House. This is an organization that helps those that are poor, mostly homeless, in receiving medical attention that they need. They also have permanent housing options, counseling, and an overall great community atmosphere.
After a tour I was placed on preparing and serving lunch. I have done this before and was not concerned, but it is always a great experience. I love the feeling of immediately making an impact and showing someone that you care. For anyone who has not volunteered to serve a meal to someone who doesn’t have one, I would highly recommend you do. Maybe if all of the leaders of this world had this experience they would feel differently about cutting SNAP?
Throughout this experience I realized how necessary it is to incorporate both direct service and social justice into your life. If I want to make a difference, it is necessary to go to the source. Government is necessary in making sure that people who are vulnerable have the support that they need to stay on their feet. However, for those who never encounter someone different from them, they remain blind to the government’s true obligations for society.
So now what?
We recently had a meeting about the rest of the year and the plans for this. It was great to hear everything that NETWORK plans to do and the steps we must take to move forward. However, it is hard to think that I will not be a part of this work directly. I know there is always a way to stay in touch and make sure you are making a difference from your hometown (such as checking the NETWORK website and reading blogs), but I am going to miss the important work we do and feeling like I am making a bigger impact on those that I served at Christ House that day.
Going back to school I will continue to work directly with people, but I will be much more aware of the political world. I feel that I will better to able to participate in discussions and share my opinion, along with keeping up with current news and making sure my opinion is heard.
I am in my last week of working with NETWORK and I know I will have more great experiences, but for now, I continue my life as a social work student advocating in the political world.