We have some wonderful news to share today. Interfaith Community PADS (ICPADS) recently brought a part-time Case Manager on board! We’ve long felt this role was necessary to effectively support our shelter guests, and we’re beyond excited to finally make this dream a reality.
The call for in-house case management has been growing. Our guests have case managers at other local organizations, but there is so much work to be done within our own walls. Our director, Harrison Holtkamp, and a handful of dedicated volunteers had been stepping up to fill this gap, but the need was evident, and the load was heavy. However, this year, the pieces fell into place.
A combination of a mild winter, prospective grants, and a heartfelt donation from a generous donor gave us the finances we needed to put this plan into action. And we had just the person in mind: a seasoned case manager who’s already familiar with our guests and their needs, Abby Stewart.
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”(Proverbs 31:8-9)
We are thrilled to formally introduce Abigail “Abby” Stewart, our new part-time case manager. Abby brings years of experience and a passion for service to her role at ICPADS. When asked to give a bit about her background, Abby shared a powerful story:
“On my first day as a student, I had a Professor before his lecture open up by saying this:
“If you meet a person where they are at, always remember two things:
- Being vulnerable empowers the will for wanting change; we all, at some point in our lives, have needed a helping hand.
- Show up each day with gratitude and never stop learning.””
Abby took these words to heart, and they’ve guided her ever since. Her commitment to meeting individuals where they are has been a driving force in her career. As she shared:
“Within the past 5 years, I have been fortunate enough to continue advocating for the homeless population in Porter and LaPorte County. Throughout those years, I spent time at different community agencies that work alongside Interfaith Community PADS on a weekly basis. Whether my days were spent inside or doing street outreach, there was always one goal: connect with the individual, meet them where they were at, and provide immediate services.”
Case Management at ICPADS
We are thrilled that Abby chose to join our team. About the decision, she shared:
“I had spent a little time away from the community, and after a while, I knew I was ready to volunteer at the shelter. Harrison, the Director, gave me this awesome opportunity to meet with some of the guests for a couple of hours per week. As more time went on, I was honored to accept the position as the new part-time Case Manager with ICPADS.”
As a case manager at ICPADS, Abby focuses on an in-depth intake process for our guests. She’s committed to assessing guests’ immediate needs and getting a comprehensive understanding of each individual’s situation. Abby helps guests devise personalized action plans with goals, deadlines, and upcoming appointments. Her aim is always to get our guests on the path to independence.
Abby Reflects on Her Work
Abby’s empathy and understanding shine through in her work. She shared some of her observations about our guests and the environment at ICPADS:
“I have immense empathy towards our guests. I try to place myself in their shoes. The truth is anyone who is walking through those doors has already experienced trauma in varying ways, carrying unwanted baggage.
ICPADS has created a safe and welcoming environment for guests to feel comfortable. Having dedicated staff and volunteers on a weekly basis makes it possible for a smooth operation.”
Abby went on to express her joy in being a part of the guests’ journey toward achieving their goals:
“The professor I mentioned earlier has become a lifelong mentor to me. He had encouraged me when I didn’t know which direction to go. He was honest with me when I needed it the most. He reminded me that without passion, there is no purpose.
The best part about the work I do at ICPADS is the small victories guests make honoring themselves by achieving their goals. Success is when guests are reestablished into their community but, this time, with confidence, support, and a new perspective on their journey.”
Looking Ahead: Building a Brighter Future
We’re so grateful to have Abby as part of our team. Her skill set, experience, and heart for service have already proven to be invaluable. We look forward to the progress we can make under her guidance.
Our hope for the future is to expand Abby’s role from part-time to full-time, allowing her to support even more of our guests on their journey toward independence. If you’d like to contribute towards making this dream a reality, please consider becoming a monthly donor to support our work at the Shelter.
In the words of our Director, Harrison Holtkamp:
“I love the skillset Abby brings and the knowledge and understanding of our guests. I hope to be able to find a way to bring her on full-time at some point….fingers crossed.”
Thank you for your continued support. Together, we’re making a real difference in the lives of our community’s most vulnerable members.