Part Three: The Power of LIFTing

By LIFT on February 19, 2015

Categories: First Person Perspective, Real Stories

Recently, LIFT Member Lawrence poignantly articulated how LIFT’s one-on-one program model shapes the way members’ experience LIFT’s services. To sum it up, he showed us how such individualized attention impacts how members feel they can make progress on their goals. Next in our four-part series, we will hear from longtime LIFT Advocate, Reed, who shares how LIFT’s model impacted his perceptions. He reflects on how being an advocate at LIFT influenced his understanding of poverty and beliefs around what makes an antipoverty program successful.

When Jane first came into LIFT she was facing a scary situation. Jane was day away from eviction. In the past, Jane was forced to live in her car and she was deathly afraid of going through that again. What is more, she had with her service dog, Oliver, who is of utmost importance to her, making shelter a nonviable option. After coming to LIFT for numerous appointments, Jane and I had developed a strong, trusting relationships. She was able to see that LIFT would always stand in her corner, proving her with the stability and support she needed to face her obstacles head on. I’m beyond happy to report that Jane and her service dog recently moved into a new apartment in senior subsidized housing. She also got her eviction sealed, so it was taken off her record and will never hinder her apartment search in the future.

There is a big difference between hearing statistics about poverty in the news and actually being on the ground addressing the issues that lead to poverty. Being a LIFT advocate for the past two years has affected the way I see and understand poverty. It also has changed what I think of as an impactful program to help those struggling with poverty. LIFT’s model of pairing a ready-to-help advocate with a community member to set goals and work towards long-term stability sounds straightforward, but is actually groundbreaking. This model demonstrates how a personal connection between an advocate and member, in addition to the stability of constant reoccurring meetings, positively impacts progress; and in turn, LIFT members’ lives. Jane’s story represents how the stability LIFT provides, and its values of relationships and collaboration, can make all the difference in influencing positive change.

As a business student at DePaul University, I know I will not do the work I do with LIFT for the rest of my life. However, the time I have spent at LIFT, and will continue to spend throughout my undergraduate years, will ultimately shape my career trajectory. I will always lean on the values and lessons I have learned with LIFT and will constantly be looking for opportunities to support similar community minded service organizations.