Our first Community Highlight celebrates our amazing intern Adrian Brown!
An Evanston native, Adrian graduated from Niles North High School. He received his associates of arts at Oakton College, and will be completing his bachelors in social work at NEIU this Spring!
Supporting others has always been a passion for Adrian. While at Oakton, he took a course on social problems. In the course, they built cardboard boxes that they slept in on campus, which was an insightful and eye-opening moment for him. This was how he discovered his passion for social work for people experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness.
Adrian believes that our approach to solving homelessness as a society has changed over time. There is a growing diversity of ways we can tackle homelessness, from housing affordability to supportive services. He is particularly thankful to have a better understanding of how laws and policies impact low-income people of color. His favorite memory is when the Joining Forces Advocacy Team went to Springfield to advocate for a bill that would ban source of income discrimination. He also deeply appreciates being able to connect with our Margarita Inn clients directly and has created lasting relationships with both current and former residents alike.
He says that the hardest part of his job is getting clients more involved in advocacy work since the work is focused more on societal changes than individual client services. “Our role is different than a case manager or a therapist… the care we provide is so different. Having them understand our type of care really does affect them even though it’s not interpersonal.” He has found that despite this challenge, what has helped him in showing clients the value of advocacy work is building a genuine relationship with them. “Just being consistently there makes a difference. Do it wholeheartedly. It impacts a lot of people and there are huge benefits when things go our way,” he says.
After Adrian’s internship ends this Spring, he will be starting his master’s degree in social work at the University of Illinois!
Connections and Joining Forces are thankful for all the work that Adrian has done. His ability to connect with clients is special, and he has an amazing future ahead of him. Thank you for all that you have done, and we can’t wait to see the incredible work you do!