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Summer House Essay Contest

Our organization recently hosted an essay contest that asked our team members what excites them about working in the social service field. They could also share their experience working at Summer House.

As you can imagine, being a care partner or a frontline worker during the COVID pandemic has come with some challenges. Our team at Summer House has rallied together. Connection is critical for individuals in our programs, and our team members have made sure this never wavered. It was quite a humbling experience seeing the enthusiasm and dedication that went into keeping our clients not only safe but active during the pandemic. The motto for us during that time was, make a difference when it matters most! And with keeping that in mind, we thought hosting an essay contest would be an excellent way for our care partners to reflect on that time and “why” they choose to work in the social service field, and what common goals we have.

The essay guidelines were to make sure team members did not go over 400 words, maintain client confidentiality, and were original works. The top winning entries received Amazon gift cards and will be featured on our Summer House blog and social media platforms.

The top entry came from Macey, an employee that works in our Supported Living Services program. Macey was interested in going to nursing school the next year and shared in her essay the impact the Summer House had on her. We also wanted to take the opportunity to sincerely thank all our team members who participated in this event. We received quite a few submissions, and the decision for the top two was tough. Each entry was so heartfelt, honest, and insightful. Every word that was shared had such an impact on the judges. It was such a humbling experience to hear such personal stories of what brought everyone to the social service field. As one contestant shared this beautiful quote: “We all have a calling in life, and we all have a place we belong; if you can find your calling and find where you belong, you’ll truly be blessed with contentment and purpose, my love.”

Words have such power and influence, and therefore, we would like to share the top winning essay. We also decided and plan on having more essay contests with different topics in the near future.

Macey’s essay is below.

When beginning my time here with Summer House, I had no clue how much I would learn both about myself and about the people I work alongside with. As a pre-nursing student, I searched for opportunities that would provide me with direct healthcare interactions and was referred to Summer House by a close friend. What I found from working here has been so much more than what I expected, and I am extremely grateful that I have been granted this experience!

The most important things I have learned from working with my clients, has been their perspectives on life, along with what makes life purposeful and fulfilling. Before starting with Summer House, my point of view on what would make my life meaningful was of success, whether that be graduating at the top of my class in college, getting into the best nursing school, making money, or seeking the approval of my parents and peers. My clients see the world so much differently than I did, and working with them closely has allowed me to garner a lot of their insight. They have shown me that life isn’t just about “being successful”, rather, what makes life meaningful is the people you surround yourself with and the time you spend with them. Both of my clients place a huge amount of importance on their families, friends, staff, and others in their circles of support. Over time, I realized just how important even I, a new staff member, became to them and realized just how much my perception of life needed to change.

I will not lie and say that part of me still craves success, especially around the time of the release of nursing school admission results. However, my clients have shown me how to integrate this need for success with reasons for why this success is important in the grand scheme of things. Becoming a good nurse will ultimately allow me to aid in the care of a population in my community, something that is ultimately more important than getting the title of RN in the first place. It is going to be the people I meet and the quality time I spend with them that will matter most, an invaluable lesson I have learned from the wonderful folks of Summer House.

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