Monday, July 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Anne Graupner - Celebrating a Year of Service

“And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). That is what Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) had asked of Anne Graupner to do for one year here at LCS, far from her home in Germany, and I cannot think of anyone who has exemplified that more than Anne.

Goodbyes are always hard. But we have much to celebrate as it was a successful year for Anne and for LCS as we had the privilege of working with such a kind and loving person. We certainly hope she will take away with her as much as we have gained from her presence with us.

I managed to sit her down for an interview and photos, despite a bit of protest, she was a good sport in the end!  And while we will be getting a new volunteer from LVC at the end of August, to take over for Anne, she cannot be replaced. That person will simply be filling in the legacy that others have left behind even before Anne. None of our volunteers can ever be replaced. They are all so special us.

How are you feeling about leaving next week?
“I have a lot of mixed feelings. Some excitement, some sadness.”

What was your reaction when you found out you were coming to Delaware?
“I didn’t know where it was. I had to look it up on the internet.  My LVC’r roommate had a shirt that said –Dela-where?  And that described how I felt’. I liked the idea that it was on the east coast, close to the ocean and close to a lot of things. I did get to see Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC.”

What was life like when you first started to work at LCS?
“Culture shock! Especially during orientation. I had to work on improving my English, that was a real issue at first. Then figuring other things out. My room mates, the work...everything. I was really tired mentally.

Sandy and Aaron and everyone gave me so much support. There is such good communication in this office. The staff meetings are unlike bigger organization I have been involved in before. We are able to keep up with each other and what the current projects are. Despite a small staff there is a lot going on here and those meetings are often the only time we get to connect as a group. It still has a grass roots feeling despite all of the big projects.”

What has the work at LCS meant to you and have you found it fulfilling?
“It has meant a lot. It is the first time I have worked in direct services. Also has meant so much because of the people I work with, both the staff and all of the wonderful volunteers. I have really been impressed with how many volunteers LCS has and everything that they do. It has been shocking to see how many people are in need. It is frustrating to see."

Do you sense a lot of gratitude from the clients?
“It changes. Every client is different. Some hugs, some say thank you. But I was just happy when I saw that truck pull up and new I was providing assistance. I never expected anything from them.”

What would you change if you could? About LCS? About LVC About the USA?
“Cannot think of anything to change about LCS or LVC. But maybe tell people - Nothing big, but if everyone did something small, baby steps, give their time they could make big changes.”

Has the work at LCS changed your view of the world?
“I was not aware there where so many people in need of food and housing assistance.”
Are there similar programs to ours in your country?
“We have a good program, but not a lot of people are as much in need. More are covered by the government, so not as much of a need as here.”

What are you going to miss the most about your time here in Delaware and what are you taking back with you?
“Friends that I found here in Delaware. How much I liked working at LCS and lots of good experiences."

What are your plans when you get home?
"Looking for a job. I applied for several. I am going to take some time to readjust myself back to life in Germany."

Would you do it again? 

Cool Anne, so would we!
Thanks for a great year...we are going to miss you!!

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