The twice a month meetings are 1 ½ hours, and entail trainings around each of LIFT”S service areas. The first one is typically around employment services (resume critiques, mock interviews, etc.), others include housing, public benefits, diversity, and challenging client situations. Some of these meetings will take place at Villanova the other at Bryn Mawr or St. Joe’s.
Lift is a non-profit organization involved in a nationwide anti-poverty movement, operates with the ultimate mission of combating poverty and expanding opportunity for all people in the United States. LIFT creates a transformative experience for both clients and volunteers as they work together to enhance the well-being and efficacy of all citizens.
LIFT clients and volunteers have one-on-one meetings in which volunteers work with clients to improve professional development skills for finding jobs, to secure stable housing, to apply for public benefits and tax credits, to find educational opportunities, to obtain referrals to other services like childcare, healthcare, or legal services, and to ultimately support one another in the fight against poverty. LIFT combines direct service with advocacy as students gain a more comprehensive understanding of not only the issues most prevalent in Philadelphia, but also of the system of resources available to help work against the forces of poverty. By directly engaging this system in client meetings, both students and clients become empowered to reach their ultimate goals. Extensive client service training will be provided. See http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/in-the-fight-against-poverty-its-time-for-a-revolution/
LIFT Philadelphia has provided me with one of the most transformative experiences I have had at Villanova thus far. Through client interaction there, I have encountered issues of poverty in a much deeper fashion. Working one-on-one with so many different people allows for the development of an extensive community, giving me the chance to connect with more people in West Philadelphia than I could have ever imagined, each with his or her own unique story. Personal connections have always been a primary motivator for my service and anyone with a similar feeling will love LIFT. Additionally, through client service, I have engaged the network of community resources available in Philadelphia in a way I never may have had the chance to, such as the Philabundance Food Hotline, Work-n-Style, and an organization that provides professional clothing for low income individuals, Project H.O.M.E., free legal services, the government, and more. Ultimately, the most powerful aspect of my LIFT experience is learning how an individual person’s story fits into a greater network of issues. When working with a client searching for affordable housing, calling countless places to find that the shortest waiting list is 6 months makes you gain a greater understanding of the severity of the city’s housing crisis. Or when I have a young citizen come in who had been unemployed for a year with a functionally illiterate girlfriend and a son with a serious medical condition who had no idea he was entitled to Unemployment Compensation, you recognize the extensive isolation that certain communities go through. Or when I see a client forced to accept a job he is grossly overqualified for, it adds another layer of understanding to what this economy really means for those whom I have come to recognize as the hardest working Americans. There is no doubt that you will face challenges and be challenged at LIFT, but it is those experiences that allow for the greatest transformation and the most important questions. So if this site seems daunting, or scares you, or you do not know how you will ever be able to learn all of these skills, then I challenge you to sign up for it, because I guarantee it will be the site that leaves you with the greatest impact. Kristen Valosky ‘12