If you look into the distance, there’s a house upon the hill
Guiding like a lighthouse to a place where you’ll be
Safe to feel at grace ’cause we’ve all made mistakes
If you’ve lost your way
I will leave the light on
Tom Walker- Leave the Light On
These are a few photos I captured on my first night at Immanuel’s House during their Cafe Night, that I believe represent the organization well. Immanuel’s House at it’s core is about community and acceptance.
Photo by Nikki Lower
Photo by Nikki Lower
This photo, the gathering, shows comradery- the people that make Immanuel’s House what it is. People from different walks of life- lower, middle, and upper class putting their differences aside and coming together in a space to enjoy each other’s presence and celebrate life.
The second photo, a picture of my class mate Mary,
her husband, and friends on stage enjoying the
power of song. Immanuel’s House incorporates music and worship into their organization. Music has meaning to this organization because it allows the people that come through the door comfort and solace.
The Lotus Flower: Because lotus flowers bloom in darkness. This is a symbol of both the organization and the individuals that it consists of. As the members in the community face hardships and come together at Immanuel’s House, they are constantly blooming in adversity and evolving.
The Light House: The organization serves as a light in the darkness for those that need it. It provides a place of solace as well as guidance and togetherness inside of the Martinsburg community.
The Door: When individuals in Immanuel’s House walk through the door, they shed the burden of their daily lives and come together with loved ones. It also symbolizes the doors that open for them when they feel a part of something.
Soup Bowl: The soup bowl symbolizes the food that Immanuel’s House provides. Food makes everyone more comfortable and also provides a necessity to the local people that need it.
The Casette: The casette symbolizes the music that is an important part of Immanuel’s House for the organization and community. The music provides solace as well as an outlet for the creative in the Martinsburg Community and allow for the community to enjoy live jives and enjoy good company.
To give a glimpse of what I do aside from my coplac course, I do graphic design/ communications for political candidates and I am a mentor to at risk youth in the Jefferson county school system with the Americorps program. This is my second year with Americorps- and I believe that my first year was what got me truly involved with “being involved”. I had grown up with my mom working two full time jobs, and rarely saw her. She would live pay check to pay check and my father was also an abusive alcoholic. I wanted to help out the summer with a food program because I knew how most of the kids in the program felt, and I wanted better for them. My role was a mentor, being the one closest to the kids aside from their parents. Most of them lived in households with not a lot of food or love.
Photo by Volunteer WV
I saw my kids have really good and really bad days- most of them were messy. I saw one of my girls give her food to one of the kids that she knew had none at home. That is when it truly sunk in- why should a kid have to give up their food to another child in need? Why do we live in such a food insecure society- yet we are rich in resources. There is plenty of food to feed every single person in the united states- so why do so many go hungry? That led to other questions- like why other people are able to succeed easier than others? Why proper healthcare seems to be a foreign concept? The idea of children getting an education quality based on their zipocode. This is how I ended up in the sociology program at my university, and later a soup kitchen doing community service during my COPLAC service experience. This year I have been helping an awesome group of kiddos reach their full potential and giving them a person in their lives that they can turn to that cares- because they deserve it.
I got involved with politics, because I knew it would be the best way for me to make direct change. I had started with small campaigns (board of education, house of delegates) and just recently got off of my most recent- a Senate campaign. I also did campaign consultation with a Federal Non Profit PAC- for candidates across the country that needed help training their volunteers and doing media work. I’m up until 2 and 3 AM mostnights, working on different projects for myself or someone else- so I function off of sweet tea and the hope for a long nap later.
The most significant culture related experience I have witnessed, was during café night. The band was on stage playing- Mary and her wonderful husband, their friends and guest percussionist Skellington Flynn, and when glancing out into the crowd, I took in a moment to realize that most of the people in that audience came from completely different backgrounds, but truly enjoyed each other’s company. I saw a man of about 40, well dressed, sitting with a homeless man, swaying back and forth to the tunes. I saw a young woman, around college age- sitting with a complete stranger trying to start up a conversation. It was humbling to see so many walks of life in a room together, being a community. If I had to imagine what a community would look like- that night at Immauel’s House was it.
photo by Nikki Lower
The value that truly encapsulates Immanuel’s House is community. Everything that Immanuel’s House stands for is togetherness and unity and enjoying each other’s company in a safe, welcoming space. Everyone’s attitudes are warm and radiating kindness. One of the core beliefs of Immanuel’s House, is that everyone is welcome. Every background, walk of life, is welcome to come through the doors and shed the burden of the day and enjoy being in the moment.
I am currently in an online class with two professors and 4 students- 2 from Shepherd University and 2 from Georgia University. This blog is the start of my journey. For the course we find a place of service that means something to us- and look from an outside perspective at our experiences, and interpret the meanings. We choose songs and lyrics that relate to our journey inside of our chosen organizations and tie them to emotions and feelings. I will be completing my service hours, as well as volunteer for 4 political campaigns doing political communications, and balance my full time student status. This site is for my ramblings as well as for documenting my adventures in the class. Thank you for reading!