A feeling of belonging arose during my first weeks at Heartland Alliance four months ago. An uplifting organizational culture, a distinctive well-funded mission, and friendly environment have marked my journey in this organization since I arrived in Chicago.

Heartland Alliance opened its doors in 1888 to bring healthcare, housing, and support to people facing poverty, illness, and homelessness due to an increased immigrant population coming to the Chicago area. Over the years, the organization has continued its mission of helping to restore dignity to the most vulnerable populations.

The impact of its programs can now be seen throughout the American Midwest and in 20 countries around the world, directly helping 400,000 people each year and impacting 7 million through advocacy and policy change, including refugees, those experiencing homelessness and chronic illness, and those seeking justice. Heartland Alliance connects them with the services they need to escape poverty and heal, just as they have for more than 125 years.

Much of this work is performed through four companies – Heartland Housing, Inc.; Heartland Alliance Health, Inc.; Heartland Alliance International (HAI); and Heartland Human Care Services, Inc (HHCS); being the last one my space of learning and workplace for the last months.

HHCS cover basic needs for today, like housing and healthcare, while providing job and financial training for tomorrow. This company utilizes a continuum approach to ending poverty through three main focuses: mitigating poverty, moving out of poverty and keeping out of poverty; and a comprehensive array of services: legal counseling to immigrants as they struggle to establish their lives in the U.S, mental health services to refugees and survivors of trafficking, torture, and domestic violence, housing to boys and girls who are without their parents and fleeing extreme violence in their own homelands, and so on. 120 programs total are implemented all over Chicago.

I am currently collaborating with the Operations Team in the administrative coordination, project management, and assessment of different projects, helping the organization to move towards a more strategic and coordinated approach. Having cooperated in the logistics administration for the opening of a transitional job training and occupational therapy center for young victims of violence, it fills my heart with pride and enthusiasm to work every day in such an organization and with an incredibly passionate team of experts.

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