I know I am so lucky to have had Family Lifeline as my first job out of grad school, and it is bittersweet to be moving on.
In 2019 I was a 22 year old student just starting the accelerated Masters program at VCU. I had graduated from George Mason University with my Bachelors in Social Work, jumped in the car, and driven to Richmond to sleep on a blow up mattress on the floor of my first apartment. The next morning I attended orientation and learned that my field placement for the year would be at Family Lifeline. I came for an interview and knew immediately it would be a great fit. The atmosphere was casual but professional, everyone was extremely welcoming and seemed genuinely invested in my experience as an intern. I worked mostly with the Visiting Volunteer program conducting in-home reassessments and meeting all of our fantastic participants.
Visiting Volunteers taught me so much. Not just about Family Lifeline and volunteering, but about Richmond as a whole. I had the honor of hearing so many stories from our older community members while visiting. Some homes were intergenerational, with family members all sharing space, while others eagerly offered up photos of children and grandchildren from further away. I listened to people play piano, I saw back gardens meticulously tended to, I heard about the recent church choir rehearsal and grandbabies being born. There is something about this work that facilitates people sharing their stories and experiences with you. I was, and continue to be, so humbled by those who trusted me with these details.
I listened to people play piano, I saw back gardens meticulously tended to, I heard about the recent church choir rehearsal and grandbabies being born. There is something about this work that facilitates people sharing their stories and experiences with you. I was, and continue to be, so humbled by those who trusted me with these details.
From there I was lucky enough to be hired onto the Long Term Support Services team after graduation. This expanded my role from Visiting Volunteers to the Home Care side of things as well. I was able to meet our absolute saints who work as care providers and provided services and resources to those they were caring for. Let me tell you, direct care workers deserve the world! The work they do is intimate, there’s just no other word to describe it. They really become part of the families they’re with and care for each client so deeply. It was truly an honor to get to know and work beside them.
So here we are, 3 years later. From sitting at a back desk writing papers to working with one of the best teams I could have asked for. I know I am so lucky to have had Family Lifeline as my first job out of grad school, and it is bittersweet to be moving on. Family Lifeline lives and breathes their values. They have poured into my professional development, but also, perhaps inadvertently, into my personal development as well. This is such personal work and navigating it can be tricky, the support that is provided when things get heavy is invaluable. With that, I want to thank Family Lifeline for shaping me and preparing me for my future as an outpatient therapist. I hope to stay connected on the volunteer front, whatever that may look like in these COVID times, and wish everyone the best. Learn as much as you can while you’re here, there are stories and experiences waiting to be shared if you are patient enough to hear them.
Madison Foard, MSW
Social Work Supervisor
Long-Term Support Services