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More than a Commute…

Ms. Suits works as the Alumni Programs Manager at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from Berea College in 2014 with a bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. During the summer of 2012 she interned with Jubilee Jobs a workforce development agency in Washington, D.C.

Cinching tightly to my purse, I stepped aboard Bus 95 to begin what was my 45 minute commute from Catholic University to Anacostia in Washington, D.C. I felt discontent and nervous as I sat next to the other riders discussing their Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, drug rehab programs, and their not-so-swell living arrangements. We did not share the same skin color and it seemed odd that our paths were intersecting at such a time. As I stepped off the bus into unfamiliar territory, I again felt anxiety and out of place. What had I signed up for? People were passing by hurling disrespectful comments. Before arriving to my office, I had to walk past a group of men in line waiting for the probation office to open. Talk about a morning commute…

There’s nothing like breathing encouragement into those who have never heard it," writes Brittany Suits, who interned at Jubilee Jobs in Washington, D.C. in 2012.

“There’s nothing like breathing encouragement into those who have never heard it,” writes Brittany Suits, who interned at Jubilee Jobs in Washington, D.C. in 2012.

My internship with Jubilee Jobs through the Shepherd Poverty Alliance program taught me much about life and who I want to be when I grow up. Jubilee Jobs is a workforce development agency in the greater Washington, DC area. There, I helped applicants with online applications and resumes, led job readiness workshops, and organized job placement celebration events. Terry Flood, the Executive Director and Founder of Jubilee, taught me the significance of running an organization rooted in passion and efficiency. Jubilee has one goal to help job seekers with significant barriers find employment. Their vision is simple and targeted.

Working at Jubilee showed me the importance of running an efficient and collaborative business. Passion is a huge piece of what makes Jubilee operate, but it is the collaborative nature and streamlined vision that truly makes the organization thrive. The skills I acquired during my time at Jubilee have and continue to shape my life as a young professional. I aspire to help businesses and organizations find their intersection between passion and efficiency. During my internship, I was privileged to lead résumé, interview, and job readiness workshops. These workshops showed me how much I enjoyed teaching and motivating others. There’s nothing like breathing encouragement into those who have never heard it. I remember telling one client who was struggling to get his G.E.D that he was worth it. Getting his G.E.D meant he could get a better job, go to college, and become the man that I knew he wanted and could be. It was like someone put glitter in his eyes. He was elated and flabbergasted that someone believed in him.

That summer I understood why those in a state of homelessness are not “lazy.” I saw what uncertainty and discouraging communities can do to the human spirit. Our world is not black and white. In fact, life happens in the grey and the grey is what makes or breaks us. I sat and listened as client after client told me the countless ways he or she had tried finding employment. From scraping up two dollars to get a Metro ticket to a job interview to walking five miles to find the nearest shower, these people did everything they could to improve their current situations. Careless and unmotivated were not words that defined them.

The Shepherd Poverty Alliance program did more than provide me with a college credit and “real world” job experience. It taught me to embrace the discontent that comes with unfamiliar territory because more times than not it has something to teach me. I work to find ways to intertwine service and alumni engagement in my new job as the Alumni Programs Manager at Woodward Academy. While my new commute looks completely different than my Bus 95 days, I will always remember that a morning commute is not only for those in suits and pencil skirts who seemingly “have it all together.” but rather an opportunity for EVERYONE to begin a new day!


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