As my internship with LMM wraps up, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to journey with you all this summer. A special thank you to Margie Glick, Director of Advocacy, for being an amazing supervisor, leader, and friend during this experience. She has pushed me to grow in so many ways and has given me the creative freedom to bloom with new opportunities. I am so grateful to have had her as a supervisor this summer!

Back when I was applying for an internship through our program at John Carroll University, I had this strong feeling in my heart that LMM was the place I was called to be, but I didn’t know why. In continuously browsing through the website and remembering back to my experience eating dinner with the ladies in C4C, the feelings of home, peace, and excitement filled my heart. Those feelings stayed with me 3 years later. No other placement site made me as excited as LMM did.

After receiving the blessing of being placed at LMM, I tried waiting patiently for six months (December to June) as I envisioned every possible scenario of what this experience would be like. I’m an overthinker by nature, but I could never have imagined an experience as great as this.

This 10-week experience has been a time of personal, professional, and educational growth for me. I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve learned so much about the injustices of homelessness and the criminal justice system, I’ve gained inspiration from those who are resilient in battling the injustices of the world, and maybe the most important piece is that I was reminded that there truly are beautiful people in this world.

Something else really important for me is that I learned more about myself – what gets me excited to take on the day, what brings me joy, and what is my true purpose in life. I encourage you all to dive deeper into what gets you excited to take on the day, how your heart is feeling. I truly believe that God speaks to us through our heart, so I would encourage you all to be attentive to those very pulses and feelings of excitement, tiredness, passion, joy, any emotion- you never know what beauty may come from that. This led me to LMM.

As I head back to John Carroll University to complete the final year of my Master’s in Nonprofit Administration, I have a renewed desire to continue working for justice in the world through education, relationships, intentionality, and walking in solidarity with people in this world. Education is such a blessing and a really powerful tool. I want to use this gift to be intentional with everything I do. Intentionality goes a long way and I’m realizing the true importance.

My research project is coming together as I work on finishing a web page for the LMM website with a collection of photos and stories of alums of C4C that highlight and humanize the reentry issues facing women that were previously incarcerated. I’m very grateful to all five of the ladies, who are amazing human beings that generously took the time to have a conversation with me. I look forward to finishing up this project and having it completed by the end of August.

Again, I’m eternally grateful for you all at LMM and for this experience. It has been an absolute blessing to meet everyone that I have crossed paths with, even if it was just in one zoom meeting or a quick in-person conversation, I cherish every encounter. You all have touched my heart and this experience will live with me forever.

– Mark Grabowski