Loyola University Chicago

Center for Experiential Learning

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Samantha Michaels

Samantha Michaels
Major
Psychology

The Safe Haven & Patty Crowley Apartments of Deborah’s Place was created in 1985 to end the cycle of homelessness for women in Chicago. To face this as a housing issue Deborah's Place serves as a community-based program, an interim housing program and a safe haven solely for women. It provides residents with mini-health clinics that coordinate women's healthcare and provide referrals to free/low-cost health services. Group activities and one-on-one engagement provide women with access to the humanities, life skills training, social-emotional development and basic adult education. Therapeutic services such as counseling, crisis intervention and art therapy are also provided by Deborah's Place to aid women with mental illnesses, substance abuse, and chronic homelessness. There is a comprehensive case management aspect which is assists women in meeting goals they have set for themselves. Women can then be linked to resources which help them reach stability and self-sufficiency. I will aid in running group meetings, serving dinner, and managing casework. I will attend meetings that aim toward goal planning and crisis intervention. By dedicating myself in these activities I will engage and build rapport with tenants. This will address the mission of Deborah’s Place which is to provide support services and opportunities for women so that they can succeed in achieving their goals of stable housing, sustainable income and greater self-determination.Past educational and personal experiences have motivated my interest to being part of an organization that is focused on helping individuals overcome similar obstacles of homelessness and mental illness. I have volunteered at this organization’s other housing site, Marah’s Place for four months. Through self-reflection I've realized the constant development acquired simply by daily interactions. My observations of the site's social workers have led to a significant increase in professional development. My experience in community service has become a transformative one educationally, as I was able to apply concepts used in my social work class last semester. My involvement there led me to achieve personal, professional and academic advancement in a momentous way. I expect my time as an intern here will further my development, incomparably.