This year marks the beginning of the 114th Congressional session, and many of the federal programs and funding sources that are crucial to the work of Lutheran social ministry are at the forefront of the current Congressional policy debate. In anticipation of landmark legislation that could potentially affect our members being put before Congress, we made sure that we were focused on the valuable work of building relationships with key policymakers.
Christian Balodis, a rising junior at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, is joining LSA this summer as a Member Engagement intern, supporting the team responsible for serving and connecting our membership. Christian is a Political Science and English major who is active with multiple student organizations, including Muhlenberg Student Government and the Muhlenberg Dynamics a Capella group, for which he is the business director.
Miranda Joebgen is a rising senior at Valparaiso University in Indiana. She joins LSA via the university’s Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellows Program which prepares honors students for lives of leadership and service through intensive experiential learning opportunities. LSA was one of the pilot locations for this program in 2014, and we’re honored to have again been chosen to help provide a fellow with a reflective workplace experience to better develop long-term career aspirations. Miranda will be working on marketing and development projects with LSA.
What happens when you bring 12 Lutheran Social Ministry organizations together in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation? The first week in June in Sacramento, I was blessed to observe that what you get is a lot of ideas, support and information exchange that leads to organizational changes and transformation.
Earlier this week, Jodi Harpstead, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, one of the state’s oldest and largest human services nonprofits and a member of LSA, was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio as part of a series with leading Minnesota CEOs on the topic of innovation.
Last month was recognized as Foster Care Month. Every child or young person that comes to the foster care system arrives through different circumstances having experienced traumatic and troubling situations. I was very moved by the many stories we highlighted over the past few weeks, stories that speak to the people that our members walk alongside and how their lives have been shaped through their experiences with foster families and caregivers.
At the Annual Conference in San Antonio a few weeks ago, our members took some time during the CEO luncheon to honor and recognize two of their colleagues who are retiring within the coming year – Rick Herman, the CEO of Wheat Ridge and Gene Kaseman, the President of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
Kaitlin Carlon of Augustana College served as the Member Engagement intern for LSA during the spring 2015 semester, and shared her perspective on interning in Washington, D.C. with the national network of Lutheran social ministry organizations.
Hannah Stevenson of Roanoke College spent the spring semester interning with Lutheran Services in America as part of the Lutheran College Washington Semester. Read her perspective of working at our national office supporting marketing projects, social media and events.