Reflection from L’Arche GWDC Intern

Kiera Suffel is the Fundraising and Communications Team Intern for the spring semester.  She assists in adding content to the website and social media, in mailings, in all preparations for L’Arche fundraising events, and any other communication tasks as needed. She also spends one evening a week at Euclid House. The following is reflection of the first half of her semester with us.

Kiera with Eileen at the office.

My time at L’Arche GWDC so far has been a joyful experience. I really enjoy the time I’ve been able to spend with Core Members along with the other great people that work for L’Arche. I work three days in the office and one of those evenings I go to Euclid House. When I get to Euclid, I am often arriving when the guys are. I tend to talk with the guys and just hang out for a bit. Often times Sito will ask me to do various chores and to cook dinner when I’m there. Eating dinner at the house is always so wonderful. The people at dinner vary each week which also allows me to keep getting to know new people. It’s a lot of fun when we have guests from outside of L’Arche over from dinner. I can relate with the guests since I’m newer at L’Arche but can also speak about L’Arche to them and answer questions. I really enjoy our prayer time, especially listening to Sonny pray. Sonny’s prayers are so simple but so meaningful which is why they stand out to me. Another experience I enjoyed was the Valentine’s Day get together. I was able to meet almost all of the Core Members and watch many of them sing and dance to karaoke.

I have learned how to be more patient because there’s often times where things don’t go as planned. For example, there was a time I was planning on making dinner at Euclid House but ended up going over to Ontario House for dinner.I have also learned to be more open-minded and take in as much information I can from the new people I am meeting. I have learned many things in the office as well and have started to get a better understanding on how a non-profit operates. My time at L’Arche has given me professional experience as well as personal growth.

I think people should come and see L’Arche because you can’t truly understand what L’Arche is until you experience time with people at a house. There is so much love and compassion at L’Arche that can only truly be felt in person. There have been many relationships that have started to form but one that really stands out is my relationship with Eileen. I get to work with her in the office but also see her from time to time at her house. Eileen greets everyone when she gets to the office and brightens people’s day. I have been able to work alongside her while she draws and even got to keep one of her lovely drawings. I love being able to go on walks with her and chat with her during that time. I really appreciate her passion for finding pennies as she walks and I have found at least five pennies myself just from learning that from her. Eileen tends to walk slower to look for pennies constantly. It’s enjoyable when Eileen does find a penny because if it’s dirty she will try to clean it off or if it’s not she will go on about how shiny it is. Another thing Eileen says when she finds a penny is how “people throwing away their good money.” It really makes me appreciate the little things, even as small as pennies, when I spend time with Eileen.

Kiera is a sophomore at Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. She is in D.C. through a program of Eastern Mennonite University called Washington Community Scholars’ Center

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