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Making Time for Personal, Professional, and Community Development

cpdc-serviceworks-team-marisa-strothenke-bioBy: Marisa Strothenke

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the ‘2016 Service to Justice Conference’ held at Luther Place Memorial Church in NW DC. When this opportunity was presented to our team, we jumped to take advantage of it. If ever there is a time to add to your personal and professional development– surrounding issues in our community, workplace, and world–we should.

Serving not as an independent organization, but a coalition of community partners, “Service to Justice” is a movement of Washington DC social service organizations, impacted community members and supportive institutions who recognize how the social service industry perpetuates the current arrangement of power that maintains systemic poverty and structural racism.”

All addressing issues of extreme relevance in today’s world, I attended sessions entitled “Understanding Power and Privilege in Service and Volunteer Work”, “Leveling the Field of Literacy in the Workplace and at Service-Based Non-Profits”, “Gateways vs. Gate-keeping in Direct Service Programs”, “Train the Trainers: Giving a DC Government 101 Workshop”, and “Being White in DC Non-Profits.”

These sessions provided us with a space to discuss the issues, share our experiences, and talk through ways in which we can continue to create active change. While gaining useful and applicable skills and information, attending these types of conferences also give us the chance to rebuild our strength.

Having the space and time for conversations of such importance is what drives us to continue the fight for change. It provides us with a network of individuals who are working towards the same goals of justice.

This conference gave me the opportunity to continue to think about my future and next professional steps. While there, I was surrounded by other AmeriCorps members (both current and alumni). I was able to see the work they were doing and continue to explore the countless opportunities that are available to me.

I am thankful for this opportunity, and many others like it.

Attending these sorts of conferences always tend to leave me with a sense of fulfillment and hope. And as always, I am energized and excited to continue developing our ServiceWorks program and expanding my knowledge in all areas surrounding my work.

Marisa Strothenke, born and raised in Wauwatosa, WI, is optimistic, nature-loving, and a recent graduate of St. Norbert College with a BA in Psychology. On campus, Marisa held leadership roles in many student organizations, coordinated campus events, planned service opportunities for students, led and participated in various alternative break trips, and worked as a Project and Marketing Coordinator in her college’s Community Service and Learning office. She is excited to be serving with CPDC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and aims to gain skills and confidence to take the next step in her professional career. Marisa hopes to work in the non-profit field and have the opportunity to continue to create positive change within her community.


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