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Never Give up, Believe in Yourself, AMDG, Life is Good. These four phrases have been used frequently by a friend and myself over the years to help recenter and refocus ourselves whenever a run would get tough. As I reach the end of my year as a fellow, I realize that these phrases extend beyond my running life and were vital to my growth and journey this year.

Never Give Up

A year of service brings many unexpected twists and turns and for me that came in the form of needing to switch sites in November of this past year. During this time, Never Give Up took on a whole new meaning. I had a few weeks off as I transitioned service sites and those first few days it was easy to wallow in the pain of having to transition, but as I opened myself to my community members and their boundless support, I saw the never give up mentality through them. I saw my housemates pour their heart and soul into medical school applications, recraft their role within their service sites, and simply laugh hard at the dinner table after a long day. This resilience within my housemates, that is seen within the people we serve, inspired me to Never Give Up. A year of service is going to be difficult at times and watching my housemates never give up throughout the whole year gave me the strength to dig deeper on those tougher days.

Believe in Yourself

Believing in Yourself is one of the toughest things someone has to do in their lives. It is often much easier to point out a friend’s best qualities than it is your own. In my role as a case manager at the Marjorie Kovler Center, I sometimes struggled with stress and anxiety. It took some time before the stress and anxiety of the work faded away into the background and became secondary, only cropping up in certain situations. The major shift that occurred and allowed the stress and anxiety to fade was believing in myself. This does not mean I always had the answer or could solve every problem (especially in the world of immigration, the system is designed to create more problems than solutions) What I did learn though, was to trust myself and my ability to communicate with others. That looks like offering a friendly smile, a glass of water, or simply asking how someone is doing. As a case manager I cannot always offer good news, but what I can do is always have someone leave an interaction or conversation feeling like they were seen and heard.


For the greater glory of God. Or for the greater glory of love, if religion hasn’t always been your jam. I have seen this mantra of mine through our dining room table and the laughs and joys that have been shared there. The dining room table is the spot every night where we as a community come together to share in our days, our successes and our struggles. To me AMDG means to put your best foot forward. It does not correlate with success but rather with effort. When I join together with my housemates at the dining room

table, I see the immense effort they put out into their work, into our house, and into the community that surrounds them. This effort is reciprocated with love. Whether that is a middle schooler giving you a compliment, a client giving you a hug, or a supervisor giving you a glowing review, I have seen the love created by each of my housemates throughout the year.

Life is Good

This does not mean that life is perfect or easy but to me it does mean that there is something inherently good about life and always something worth celebrating. For me something that I will return to as a source of joy years after this experience is a weekend we all shared huddled up playing games because our heat went out on a cold weekend. For Inés, she will remember a spirituality night where we struggled to execute yoga moves. For Caroline Kaczmarek, she will never forget the feeling of being cheered on by all of us during a Half Marathon. For Kevin, he will remember the surprise birthday party we were able to throw for him. For Katie, she will look back fondly upon all the new recipes she tried and creating a cookbook that we can all use for years. For Caroline Dahl, they won’t forget St. Patrick’s Day weekend, one packed full of activities and celebration of their birthday. Each of these moments and so many more powered us through this year.

Fall on Me

Fall on Me is a phrase that signifies a deep sense of love, trust, protection, and vulnerability. All of these previous phrases have led me to understanding the courage and understanding required from our community to reach a point where someone can say Fall on Me.

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