Friday, July 17, 2015

Marvelous Minneapolis, Minnesota

I'm a fan of alliteration as well as a fan of exploring new cities. In early July, I had the opportunity to visit Minneapolis for a couple of days with my colleague Alesia Frerichs, the Vice President of Member Engagement for our network. Our trip was in anticipation of next year's LSA Annual Conference, and we had the fortune to meet with some of our members and partners as we prepare for a great event.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Opportunity Requires Freedom – A Reflection on Why We Celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act

Sometimes I think of KenCrest as a large classroom spread across three states. Like all the agencies of Lutheran Services in America, many thousands of dedicated staff and the people we (LSA) support in vibrant and enthusiastic relationship are confronted each day with opportunities to bring their unique talents and abilities to life. No fixed roles: sometimes teachers, sometime students moving together, all building toward positive goals. A boisterous community lab-setting, full of experimentation with no graduation day in sight.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

19 Days & Counting – Learnings From My First Few Weeks in our Social Ministry ‘Ecosystem’

I wasn't familiar with LSA's work when I originally read the Member Engagement Director position description, but I knew all I needed to know after visiting LSA's website and reading the member stories featured as part of Foster Care Month. Since I've come on board three weeks ago, I've been welcomed with open arms by both the LSA staff and its members, and I can't tell you how excited and honored I am to be here serving our members – you all are truly doing amazing work.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

A Different Kind of Service

For the last three summers, I worked as a camp counselor at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL. I loved the work I did – I loved running around the hundreds of acres of land with the campers, seeing their smiling faces, and knowing that I was making a difference in each and every one of their lives. That’s the kind of service people easily understand – hands on work. However, this summer I decided that I needed to get a more well-rounded view of service, which is why I applied for the Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellows Program which is offered through Valparaiso University. This program was developed by the Institute for Leadership and Service, and it is designed to help students learn more about service in society as well as have the opportunity to begin to understand their own calling and purpose in society. This is accomplished by the fellows serving in a variety of organizations.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

LSA Representing Our Members with Leaders on Capitol Hill

This year marks the beginning of the 114th Congressional session, and many of the federal programs and funding sources that are crucial to the work of Lutheran social ministry are at the forefront of the current Congressional policy debate. In anticipation of landmark legislation that could potentially affect our members being put before Congress, we made sure that we were focused on the valuable work of building relationships with key policymakers.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

LSA Member Engagement Team Welcomes Summer Fellow, Christian Balodis

Christian Balodis, a rising junior at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, is joining LSA this summer as a Member Engagement intern, supporting the team responsible for serving and connecting our membership. Christian is a Political Science and English major who is active with multiple student organizations, including Muhlenberg Student Government and the Muhlenberg Dynamics a Capella group, for which he is the business director.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

LSA Welcomes CAPS Fellow, Miranda Joebgen

Miranda Joebgen is a rising senior at Valparaiso University in Indiana. She joins LSA via the university’s Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellows Program which prepares honors students for lives of leadership and service through intensive experiential learning opportunities. LSA was one of the pilot locations for this program in 2014, and we’re honored to have again been chosen to help provide a fellow with a reflective workplace experience to better develop long-term career aspirations. Miranda will be working on marketing and development projects with LSA.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

From Ideas to Transformation – Improving Lives for At-Risk Youth

What happens when you bring 12 Lutheran Social Ministry organizations together in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation? The first week in June in Sacramento, I was blessed to observe that what you get is a lot of ideas, support and information exchange that leads to organizational changes and transformation.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Foster Care – Stories of Hope

Last month was recognized as Foster Care Month. Every child or young person that comes to the foster care system arrives through different circumstances having experienced traumatic and troubling situations. I was very moved by the many stories we highlighted over the past few weeks, stories that speak to the people that our members walk alongside and how their lives have been shaped through their experiences with foster families and caregivers.

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