Today’s post is brought to you by Sophie, the newest intern at the Gateway Center. Make sure to leave a comment welcoming her to the team!
My name is Sophie Beal and I am The Gateway Center’s newest intern! For the next year, I will be working with Gateway in hopes of deepening my understanding of what it means to be a person struggling with homelessness in an American city. I was connected with Gateway through the Young Adult Volunteer/DOOR program, which is a national organization that offers opportunities for young adults between the ages of 19-30 to participate in a year of mission and service while living in intentional community.
I, myself, am 22 years old. I recently graduated this spring from Mount Holyoke College (a women’s liberal arts college located in Western Massachusetts). While at Mount Holyoke, I majored in Religion and minored in Journalism, Media and Public Discourse. Despite having spent the better part of my upbringing in Cleveland, OH, I was actually born in Atlanta. Thus, in many ways, my year of service below the Mason Dixon Line is allowing me to get back in touch with my southern roots.
Prior to becoming a part of the YAV/DOOR program in Atlanta, I was searching for work in the area of housing and homelessness in Chicago. If anyone had asked me then why I felt so called to work in this area (particularly having no experience whatsoever), the best answer I could give was that my education was not yet over. I have been raised to care deeply about issues of social justice and I see myself as someone committed to the work of changing systems that perpetuate injustice in our world. But how can I do any good without first moving out of my comfort zone and listening to other’s stories? And so, since being accepted into the YAV/DOOR program and placed with The Gateway Center, I have felt an overwhelming and sincere sense that I am in exactly the place I am supposed to be right now in my life.
I am both incredibly excited and undeniably nervous to begin my work with Gateway. This experience is entirely new for me and I realize that it will likely be a learning process that will push me to examine and reexamine my own assumptions, privilege, and worldview every day. But I welcome the challenges and look forward to the lessons I will undoubtedly learn here. Thank you, Gateway Center, for welcoming me aboard! I can’t wait to begin.