Love is a shelter in a raging storm

Love is peace in the middle of a war

This is a quote from one of my favorite songs. This song is “Love is Not a Fight” by Warren Barfield.

Love is the great motivator in our lives. If we are motivated to work with our clients by something other than love, we will burn out quickly. Our clients arrive on our door step in the middle of raging storms. They come to us in the fight of their lives. It is our job to be a shelter for our clients. We are called to be a place of peace and refuge for our clients. If they cannot find peace with us, they won’t find it anywhere.

This does not mean that we sit back idly by while our clients make destructive decisions or bad choices. The most loving thing we can do for our clients is share truth with them. This means if we see our clients making bad choices, we work to help them correct those areas of weakness in their lives. We make it our aim to correct them in gentleness and with all patience but we still look to help our clients deal with their weaknesses.

One thing I have learned in my now one year at Aurora is that sometimes our clients just need a little hope. They need to know that someone cares about them enough to help them. Sometimes we cannot help them with direct services but a listening ear can go just as far with them as direct services can. Sometimes just listening to someone’s problems can make a world of difference. Sometimes just listening is all a person needs to realize what they have to do to improve their situation.

The role of a case manager is to be a burden sharer. We are to be the soldier in the trenches fighting beside our clients. We are to share the burdens of our clients in a way that empowers them to fight through their trials. So often our clients are beaten down by places and people that are supposed to help them. We should make it our aim to further traumatize our clients but rather empower them to succeed.

There are few things that a person can do that are as stressful and as challenging that to be a burden sharer. But there are few things that are as rewarding as helping people get back on their feet. We go through the trials and tribulations along with our clients first and foremost because we care. We also go through the trials with our clients for the victory at the end of the trial.

Very few things match the look on a client’s face when they sign their lease or locate their dream job. We have the privilege of coming along side our clients and experiencing their joys, pains, sorrows, and trials.

I count it a privilege to be able to stand beside a dedicated few who have genuine love and compassion for their clients. It is a privilege for me to be able to labor on behalf of my clients. More than in any other position, I have been able to have positive outcomes in the lives of my clients. Seeing the positive outcomes for me outweighs the hard times. It makes successes all the sweet for me to have labored alongside my clients for as long as I can. I will close with my favorite client story.

My very first rapid rehousing client was a family of five who had a lot of barriers. Dad had multiple drug offenses that were older. Mom could not work due to a heart condition. Dad was a day laborer through Labor Ready. I was able to help them find a house that was in good condition. I helped Dad find another job. I encouraged them to apply for disability for both mom and her youngest son. Mom is still pending and son has been granted his disability. They were able to do a rent-to-own on their house. Due to the value of the house, they will be able to pay off their house in 2 or 3 years. I was informed after their case closed that Dad had his felonies wiped off his record completely which gave him a clean record. They went from having no hope to being stable, secure, and able to be successful.

This is why I do what I do. There is no feeling better then knowing that you have made a difference in someone else’s life.

Alan joined Aurora in June 2013. He is a case coordinator on the Housing Support Team.  Alan graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Southern Indiana in 2007. He came to Aurora after serving as the Resident Director of the Evansville Rescue Mission. Alan has been involved with a wide spectrum of people in need. His passion is to work with the Homeless population and help them go from positions of weakness to positions of strength. His goal is to one day be able to open a Homeless Shelter to help ease the burden on the shelters in our area.