[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The guest blog post below is from recent U-turn volunteer, Koren Dennison, a student Marquette University in Milwaukee, USA, who assisted our Fundraising and Communications team from March to beginning of June 2018. Thank you so much Koren for all your time and energy, you’re greatly missed!

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U-turn is full of amazing and beautiful people: employees, clients, Champions, all amazing. I have made some unforgettable memories, lifetime friendships and long-standing connections. I am so proud to say that I have been a part of this organization.

The program I participate in allowed me to pick a service site and I applied to be an intern/ volunteer for U-turn. Originally, there didn’t seem to be a home for me, but I persisted. Eventually my name landed on Rowen’s desk, which was perfect because it aligned perfectly with my major in school. Not only did I get to contribute to the life changing work U-turn does for the homeless, I would be taking home skill and resume builders for my own benefit. Win-win!

I started this process by participating in each phase before I could write about it. I got the chance to truly experience the work from both perspectives. This made everything 100 times more valuable. I went to Powerhouse as a client and participated in devotion, bible study, exercise, and ragging with Kase. Eye-opening day; the clients were so honest, the space was safe, and I’d never experienced anything like it. I went to Powerhouse again as a Champion to work under Ephraim sorting, organizing and rotating clothing in the shop. Ephraim is firm, but so sweet. We talked a lot, but I was also made to do a lot of work. I worked under Rosetta in the laundry for a day as well. I sorted, counted, tagged, and bagged clothes for the many stores. I laughed and sweat quite a bit on this day. I also went to the Claremont store and worked with Zulfah, Alistaire, and others as a Champion. The shop was slow, but I had the chance to help Zulfah with her managerial training activities. In all of these place, I met awesome people who I will never forget.

I made genuine connections with everyone I met, and I cannot elaborate how much it meant to me. My actual internship duties began after all of this. Rowen was an amazing supervisor. She provided tasks for me but allowed me a lot of room for creativity in my work. I like to think I was truly helpful over the past few months but some days it seemed I distracted Rowen with conversation about anything from apple to tattoos. We bonded a lot and I think I can say I truly gained a friend. I am so sad to go but it feels good to know I will have this family when I return.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]