At home in the city
Office of Marketing and Public Relations
| Apartment-mates Malinda Kirk ’06 and Micalagh Beckwith ’06 stroll along Harrisburg’s scenic riverfront. Both employed by human service agencies in the city, they share excitement for fostering friendships with their fellow urbanites.
As Nicely has, Leaman wants to share her experiences with Messiah students. Currently, she’s exploring opportunities to combine her community work with Messiah’s service-learning programs, a connection she says is the primary reason she moved from Manhattan to Harrisburg.
Some may find it paradoxical that cities hold a contagious attraction for so many Messiah students, faculty, and alumni, despite the fact that urban community development requires addressing problems that don’t resolve quickly—issues that involve countless people, myriad agencies, and a zeal for the long haul.
“Our students coming in for 15 weeks are building on what we’ve been doing for a number of years and what we will still be doing after they leave,” says Peterson, noting that Messiah’s continuing work in Philadelphia is nearing its 40th year.
Yet, even when progress moves incrementally, long-term participants such as Leaman are spurred by the daily rewards of building relationships and the current opportunities to affect positive growth within a calling that’s far larger than their own efforts.
“Since I moved to Harrisburg,” says Leaman, “I’ve never been more excited about using my vocation in the community, about helping to make things happen and seeing that others—who have been here longer than I have—are encouraged by the progress.
“I’m humbled that I have a story to tell and definitely see it as a story in progress.”
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