LIFT Annual Report 2014: What Matters Most - Page 47

LIFT Impact Report 2014 REAL STORIES “I value LIFT’s approach to know them. “I am most comfortable to partnering with with people and the mess of everyday life. Children, siblings, job loss, illness individuals. After a full – these are things we all experience.” Bruton remembers sharing moments with day of member meetings, Members as they reacted to questions I felt exhausted and on job applications that showed an embarrassing cluelessness on the part of exhilarated.” the prospective employer. The frequent technical glitches on the application computer portals provided simultaneous frustration and amusement. “The job search is a lengthy, tedious and isolating process and our Members use courage, persistence and humor to push through it.” Overall, the Advocate experience served as a valuable reminder: “You’re not the center of the universe. It’s comforting, somehow, to be aware of that.” She is especially proud of the three months she spent helping to realize the ambitions of a young man who had been incarcerated from age 16 to age 25 but who nevertheless aspired to become a certified optical technician. “The real value of the work is in that single story, that single person who was touched,” she says. LIFT-New York’s plan for the next five years is as strategic as it is ambitious. The key word is expansion—more Members served more deeply, throughout New York City. The immediate goal is to expand in the Bronx and then to double capacity as LIFT-New York moves into Brooklyn. Critical to the strategy is the identification of key community partnerships. “Building collaborative partnerships strengthens our organizational capacity and anchors our connections to the community,” explains Bruton. “The better we are at coordinating and harnessing resources for our Members, the more likely they are to access the support they need.” 47