Greetings from Chicago! My name is Lacey Burie, and I am a senior social work major from Trinity Christian College. I am interning at Casa Central’s La Posada program. Casa Central is the largest Hispanic social service agency in the Midwest, serving the Humboldt Park neighborhood with everything from early childhood education to violence prevention and intervention to home care services for older adults. La Posada is a 120 day interim housing program for families experiencing homelessness.
As a person who tends to geek out about program models (just ask any of my family members or friends), I was interested in seeing how La Posada’s model would empower families. La Posada uses the Housing First model, which focuses primarily on getting families into permanent housing within four months of entering the program. La Posada is unique in that, unlike most other shelters, it provides an apartment to each family for the duration of their time in the program. This allows families the privacy to continue to be a family unit together and maintain some independence. In addition to temporary housing and case management, La Posada also offers supportive services such as childcare and adult education programming. Basically, La Posada is the type of program that idealistic people like me dream of. It has been great seeing how this program gives dignity to families and empowers them to improve their situation.
I take two buses to get to La Posada, so I try to give myself plenty of time in case I end up waiting a while for one or both of the buses. This means that I usually arrive early and have time to stroll through Humboldt Park (the name of the large, beautiful public park within the Humboldt Park neighborhood) before starting my internship for the day.
The park has some wild plant basins where nature noises (bugs, birds, moving water, etc.) give me a reprieve from the bustle of city living. Other places I have found to be good for self-care include the 606 (a 2.7 mile long elevated recreational path built on a discontinued industrial train line that is home to some great landscaping and public art), the Lakefront Trail, and the Garfield Park Conservatory.
As a Trinity student I had been just outside of Chicago for a few years, and was looking forward to the opportunity to see the city from the perspective of living there rather than just visiting. Although my daily commute to my internship is long, I enjoy riding the CTA busses and seeing the variety of neighborhoods that they go through. My experiences with the city prior to Chicago Semester had mostly been in the downtown Loop area, so it has been cool to live in and explore neighborhoods that almost feel like small towns. I have really enjoyed my first month here in the city and am looking forward to all of the adventures that the next couple of months will bring.