Love & Community

By Kiera Suffel

Kiera Suffel was L’Arche GWDC’s Fundraising and Communications Team Intern for the 2017 spring semester.  Kiera held a variety of responsibilities on the team, including the creation and posting of online content, assisting with event preparations, and database clean-up. She also spent a significant portion of her time working alongside our Friendship Builder, Eileen Schofield, and at Euclid House. The following is reflection of the second half of her semester with us.

My semester interning at L’Arche has helped me grow in many ways. Although I was in the office more than the houses, I believe I was still able to grow through the love and community at L’Arche. Towards the beginning of my time here I made the goal of visiting all four L’Arche GWDC houses and am grateful that I was able to accomplish that goal. I had been eating dinner with Euclid regularly, but I wanted to be able to spend time with other core members and assistants.

I also was able to help with the guys at Euclid move to their new apartment. I realized that the move was saddening as they would leave behind their old bedrooms and memories but exciting that they would be in a nicer space to make even more memories.

Kiera taking a group selfie with Euclid guys at dinner.

Another task I have recently started to help with is grocery shopping for Ontario and Euclid. I have been grocery shopping for my house which has 14 people so I figured the shopping for the houses would be a bit easier. However, it was not as easy as I had expected. There would be things on the list I would have trouble finding in the store or would not know what amounts of certain things to get but during that time I realized that even if I don’t get everything, I am still giving them the help they need by getting groceries for them.

In the midst of all the things I’ve been doing for L’Arche, I’ve also been deepening my relationships with many people as well. I’ve had many conversations with people at Euclid and in the office. I’ve went out to coffee with several people which allowed me to learn a little bit more about them and their life beyond L’Arche.

I’ve also learned many things about how the development and communication works at a small non-profit. I’ve been able to see the hard work that goes into fundraising and the time put into our website and social media. I’ve enjoyed being able to do a lot of the social media for L’Arche as well as website publishing.

While I’ve been interning, I’ve also had some classes and a research paper to do. I decided to do my research paper on the history of people with intellectual disabilities in DC. While researching for that I was able to go through L’Arche GWDC’s history and have learned many things about how this L’Arche community has grown. Over this time period I have truly been grateful to learn and get to know all the wonderful things about L’Arche. I appreciate all that L’Arche does for their core members. I have hopes to visit other L’Arche communities closer to where I live as well as to return to L’Arche GWDC in the future.

Kiera with Eileen at the Valentine’s Day Pajama Party.

 

Kiera is an rising junior at Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. She interned with L’Arche GWDC through a satellite program of Eastern Mennonite University called the Washington Community Scholars’ Center, located in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC.

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