Advocate Journey: Monisha’s Inspiration to Continue LIFTing

By LIFT on May 31, 2015

Categories: First Person Perspective, Real Stories

Monisha is not your “typical” LIFT advocate. She is 36 years old, a single mother, and a student studying to be a licensed clinical social worker at Northeastern Illinois University. Monisha grew up in a low income housing project surrounded by gangs, drugs and people who, she said, “felt hopeless.” However, she didn’t let that negatively affect her future. Monisha used the social issues surrounding her to stay motivated. The other day, I asked Monisha, what got her interested in social work and LIFT. Monisha’s face lit up as she told me about her passion to help lift people out of poverty. She talked about her aunt, the woman who served as her role model to do such work, and she shared the goals she plans on achieving. I had the opportunity to sit down with Monisha again and further discuss her LIFTing experience.


Q: What drew you to LIFT? What inspires you to LIFT?

A: Growing up in a low income poverty stricken community, I saw many oppressed people who expressed feelings of helplessness. These issues had a great impact on the community and on me. I knew that when I was old enough, I wanted to help in any way that I could. When I saw an opportunity to volunteer at LIFT I decided to find out more about the organization to see if this would be a good fit for me. Upon learning about LIFT’s mission and goals I knew I had found an organization that aligned with my values and beliefs.


Q: What were your expectations coming into LIFT? How have you expectations changed?

A: I really had no expectations in the beginning, I was anxious to see how it would be as an Advocate. Volunteering at LIFT has been a phenomenal experience that allows me to connect and give back to my community.  LIFT Advocates meet people where they are without any judgment and work with them to accomplish things that will continue to lift them through life. Many people come into the office feeling as if they have unresolvable issues, and leave feeling less stressed. This makes me feel like I’ve accomplished exactly what I have set out to do.


Q: Can you tell me what a typical LIFT day looked like for you?

A: After dropping my daughter off at school, I would drive to the LIFT office, which only takes me 15 minutes. Once I arrive at the office I pick a computer space to use for the day. Next, I look at my schedule to see what Member’s I will meet with that day. Once the Member arrives I would greet them and bring them to the cubicle to begin the meeting. After a Member leaves, I take notes that reflect the progress we made place during the meeting. At the end of my shift, I and other Advocates sit down to discuss the day’s events and ask questions regarding Member service.


Q: Can you think of a Member story that left a lasting impression on you?

A: I had a Member who had lost her job, apartment, and child due to her diagnosis of breast cancer. The Member was now living in a women’s shelter trying to get on her feet. Even facing such difficult issues, this member remained kind. Her story made me realize how one event can take your life in a completely different direction than you had planned. This Member left a lasting impression because of the resiliency and determination she demonstrated to overcome her obstacles.


Q: How has your outlook changed from before starting your internship to now?

A: My outlook has changed tremendously. This internship taught me that people who are in a negative situation are not facing hard times because they are lazy or do not aspire to have more in life.  My overall outlook on the homeless community changed.


Q: In what ways will you continue LIFT-ing?

A: I will continue LIFTing in any way I can. I will be interning more with other not for profit agencies who have the same goals as LIFT and once I become a social worker I will spend the rest of my career LIFTing.


Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?

A: I see myself completing my Bachelor’s in Social Work BSW and becoming a person who makes an impression on others by helping them to achieve and goals the may have.


Q: Why should others LIFT?

A: LIFT to help others and yourself. Help others by assisting them with any issues they may be experiencing that are impeding on them living the best life possible. LIFTing for yourself will help you see the world in a whole different way and it will also leave you feeling like you are making changes to make our society a just one for all members of it.


Q. I LIFT because…

A. I LIFT because most of us have, at one time or another, needed to be LIFTed, whether  for financial or emotional reasons. I believe in a just society where all of its members have the same equal opportunities available to them and if I am a member of that society it is my duty to LIFT.


Monisha along with many of our current and past advocates will continue LIFTing well beyond their internship. We are thankful for their dedication and passion. It is from the help of our volunteers like Monisha we are able to keep on LIFTing our communities out of poverty.