Meet Caterina Marzella, Shriver Program Fellow

By LIFT on May 6, 2015

Categories: First Person Perspective, Real Stories

As a Shriver Corps Fellow, I am many things. To the members who visit our office, I am a partner. Together we work on job applications, find housing, overcome challenges, and celebrate success. To the advocates who volunteer, I am a teacher. I introduce them to LIFT, equip them with the skills they need and prepare them to work with members. To the community partners who serve the D.C. area, I am an opportunity. I offer the chance to share information, trade resources and forge new partnerships.

The many hats I wear in my role at LIFT all play a part in LIFT’s effort to fight poverty. Every typed cover letter, advocate trained, and resource discovered, is one step closer to helping someone reach stable ground. Every day in the office, I see what can seem like a simple act really make a difference to someone in their journey to overcome poverty. After completing a resume with a member, the first one she had ever created, she started to cry. She told me that she had never seen all of her accomplishments laid out so nicely before. It was a proud reflection of who she was during a time when her job search left her feeling doubtful and unsure of her own capability. She left the office that day rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next job application on her own.

Working in an organization like LIFT, that takes a strengths-based approach to working with its members; it’s hard not to believe in yourself. I’ve had the opportunity to shape a financial coaching pilot, develop new training sessions, and brainstorm new approaches to our current work. As someone so fresh out of school, the amount I’ve been able to do is astonishing and I learn something new almost every day. I know that when my time as a Shriver Corps Fellow comes to an end, I’ll leave not only with a new set of skills in capacity building and direct service, but a newfound confidence in my ability to make a difference.

The Shriver Corps is a once-in-a-generation cohort of AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers committed to helping people across the United States lift themselves out of poverty for good. The program is a collaboration between LIFT, Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation, and AmeriCorps, and was created to honor the legacy of Sargent Shriver, the founder of the landmark VISTA program.