Meet Jordan Kifer, Shriver Program Fellow

By LIFT on June 4, 2015

Categories: First Person Perspective, Real Stories

The LIFT-New York office is always full of change and these past few months have been absolutely no exception. When I started in July as a Shriver Fellow I realized quickly that part of being at LIFT means being ready to jump right in and embrace the unexpected! The first few weeks were spent learning the ropes, filling out forms and finalizing my goals for the next year. Now that I am almost nine months into my work at LIFT, those early days seem like a blur. Fast forward, and we are preparing to recruit a new cohort of Shriver Fellows, monitoring the implementation of Constituent Voice and gearing up for our annual Gala in the spring.  One thing I have learned is that change is just par for the course in a LIFT office!

With so many parts and people moving in different directions, it can sometimes feel like a whirlwind and finding your balance can be tricky. But, even among all the changes, planned and out of the blue, one constant provides time for the LIFT-NY staff to congregate and reflect. Once a month we have Band Practice: an all-staff meeting where we eat, catch up on personal developments and share what’s happening in our micro-worlds at LIFT. While Band Practice is a staff meeting, at the core it is an excuse for everyone to take a breath and reconnect, share what happened in their weekend, what they’re doing for the holidays, a funny movie they just saw; small though this might seem, taking those moments to refresh makes a huge difference. One recent addition to Band Practice is “Why I LIFT,” a time where a staff member shares their motivation for LIFTing. There is no set format for this section and each person has interpreted the prompt in their own way.

For me, this activity represents the true spirit of LIFT–valuing relationships and making the effort to invest in those around you. Working as a Development Fellow I see the power of relationships play out every day. From Member-Advocate relationships to a long-time donor coming to visit our Bronx office in action, every part of LIFT’s work is relationship-driven. It’s no surprise to me that the “Why I LIFT” activity is part of our monthly staff meetings. It wouldn’t be LIFT without it.

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.