10 REAL STORIES Plans and Empathy: A Conversation Between Karen C & Miss Diarra Karen Ciestewicz is an Advocate at LIFT-DC and senior at George Washington University, majoring in economics and international relations. Miss Diarra is a recent immigrant from Mali and LIFT-DC Member. Miss Diarra: How did you first hear about LIFT? Karen: When I moved here I was looking for opportunities to give back. I just Googled “Community Outreach DC.” What about you? My aunt told me it was the only place to go where you could really get the help you need. You were here on your own, right? I had just separated from my husband, and my little boy was arriving here from Africa. The landlord gave me just one day to get out of my apartment. Finding housing on a budget is one of the hardest things in D.C. We had to create a plan of action.