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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Who Is (Not) My Neighbor?

The Sunday of Independence Day weekend, I woke up bright and early to attend a worship service at a new church in my neighborhood. On previous weekends, you could find me at what I would consider to be a “popular church”- a well-attended, multi-satellite, free donuts before church kind of congregation located in a theater. You can picture it, can’t you? I’d chosen this welcoming community for the past weeks because I enjoyed the company of a friend who went there. The only inconvenience about this arrangement was that the church was located quite far from where we were living to the point where we had to take a train and walk a significant distance to get there. I had been wanting to support a local congregation for some time, so when my friend went out of town for the weekend I decided to do so then. I spotted a local United Methodist Church one night while roaming the area and had decided that this would be my place.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unconditionally Committed to Children

How can we prepare youth aging out of child welfare to be happy, productive adults? Is it important to for youth to have a permanent, positive adult relationship as they age out of the foster care system? How can we help them establish and maintain these relationships? These and many other questions were raised by members at the June meeting of LSA’s second learning cohort with the Provider Exchange®. The cohort met in New York at The Children’s Village, a nonprofit organization that works with children and families, to discuss improving permanency outcomes – both formal and informal – for youth aging out of the child welfare system.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

A Space for Stories

After a late flight back the night before from a training with an LSA member in North Carolina, I felt a bit groggy as I entered the Falls Church, Virginia office of LSA member Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA). Housed in an old Lutheran church, this location manages adoption and refugee and immigrant services.
I was there to volunteer with LSA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Tania Hernandez-Andersen, interns Nura Zaki and Danielle Steinwart of the Valparaiso University CAPS Fellows Program, and Member Engagement Fellow Natalie Goodnow of Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

In the Service of our Nation

My whole life I’ve been encouraged towards public service. “Always strive to be useful,” my mother told me growing up. “Ask what you can do,” urges my graduate school. Be “in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations,” my undergraduate institution charged students. Three years ago, when I graduated from college, I realized my vocation was public service, but I didn’t know yet in what capacity. Public service can take on a myriad of forms. Now, halfway through my master’s program in public policy, I find myself a neighbor to the Supreme Court in the LSA office. My passion, I have discovered, is for children and families, and what better place to serve and support them than LSA?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Finding My Destination

I remember there was no air conditioning on the metro car as Nura and I squeezed into it on my first day of work. The air was stuffy and hot, as if it all had already been breathed in, and as the doors shut and we pulled away from the bustling Rosslyn station, a morning quiet fell over the packed car. I’ve always loved public transportation, especially metro systems. I don’t know if it’s the maps marking how the lines overlap and run together, splayed and pumping through the city like a great, colorful heart. More likely it’s this idea that crammed in this metro car are men and women from many walks of life, with unique goals and passions, with different careers, from diverse political, spiritual, and ethnic backgrounds. Crammed into this metro car are people who would never otherwise interact with those four inches from them, and here we are, all together for a few moments, filling the same space, holding the same rails, going in the same direction. I think there’s something beautiful to that, even without air conditioning.

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