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Lifeline This Week

Sat Dec 14 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic
Sun Dec 15 @05:00 - 08:00AM
Koinos Church
Tue Dec 17 @05:00 - 07:00AM
Mobile Clinic
Sat Dec 21 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

Todd

2010 todd ludwigDuring the summer of 2010, I did an internship with Lifeline Toledo, and it changed my life.

As a college student and an aspiring medical student, I understood that I needed to do something over the summer that would look good on my future applications. In today's get-ahead culture, I knew I had to be competitive. However, I was just crazy enough to think that I could do something with my summer that was both an attractive résumé-building opportunity and a personally rewarding experience. I did not want just any old boring internship that was filled with lots of grunt work and little fulfillment. So, I started exploring.

Through some networking, I discovered Lifeline Toledo, and after some discussion with Lifeline founder, Steve North, I set up what I hoped would be my fulfilling summer internship. Little did I know what was to come.

I think that I first realized what I had gotten myself into with Lifeline the day that I met John. John was unhoused at the time, and he had been living in a tent on the bank of the river. Steve, Gary Bond, and I had gone down to the river to talk to John after Steve discovered his campsite a few days earlier. We wanted to learn what had prompted John to set up his camp there and hear about his distinctive situation. We spoke with John, and he showed us his fully stocked bookshelf, La-Z-Boy reclining chair, card table, kitchen countertop, kitchen knife set (complete with chopping block), fire pit, and "garage" tent. Something about that interaction and the outrageous nature of John's setup hit home for me. Before my eyes, he was transformed, and his humanity was exposed to me. I came to see him as a real person, understand him, and care about him. In that experience, I understood that the Lifeline internship was going to be fulfilling in ways I never anticipated.

I felt that transformation, as I had in my experience with John, over and over again throughout the summer. Mobile food pantry drops, Saturday mornings at Food for Thought downtown, community dinners at Steve's house, Tornado damage relief work, and 4.5 poverty immersion retreats were all very different community-centered opportunities I was involved in over the summer. However, one thing was constant throughout all of those experiences with Lifeline: I was moved to see the world through the eyes of a community, rather than the eyes of an individual. I had always had an active social conscience and tried to live my life in a way that outwardly-focused, but I had related to the world in a way that was self-oriented. I defined myself as an individual, even when I was participating in social-justice activities. Through my internship with Lifeline, though, I began to understand myself as a part of a greater whole—a member of a bigger community.

This new understanding of myself within the larger context of the world's community was the real fulfillment that I gleaned from my summer internship. Yes, Lifeline provided me opportunities to do good in my city, meet wonderful new friends, and have an experience that looks good on a résumé, but beyond that, my internship affected who I am and fundamentally altered how I approach my life in this world. My internship with Lifeline has been and will be a major influence on my personal values, my professional career, and so much more as I move forward with my life, and it is an experience that I will always look back on as a special and formational period in my personal development. That was something that I never expected from a summer internship, but it is a result that I will forever value.

I will say it again, during the summer of 2010, I did an internship with Lifeline Toledo; it changed my life.

Todd Ludwig