Story and photo from the Fall 2013 issue of Inside Indiana

A summer intern’s experience with The Salvation Army by Lindsey Hayden:

I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth as I near the end of my internship with The Salvation Army Indiana Division. Not only have I
created a family with this diverse and accepting group of incredible people, but I have experienced their purpose. A purpose that can’t be completely seen from the outside looking in, and most importantly, can’t be easily explained from the inside looking out.

My first taste of this came with the Tour of Hope, a tour of the facilities and services that the Salvation Army offers. My supervisor sent me to take pictures and help update social media throughout the tour. One place that showed me the purpose of The Salvation Army was the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center located in the Block of Hope. I knew that this organization I was dedicating my summer to worked hard to provide victims of domestic violence with help, but I was completely blind to the extent of how deep this help found its way into these victims lives.

As I walked and snapped pictures through the facility, we were told stories of the situations that these women and children had experienced — circumstances that a child or woman should never find themselves in. Despite this, I noticed that the children seemed happy and not damaged. They looked carefree, like children are supposed to look. It was at that moment that I saw what the Salvation Army really does. It’s not free meals, or the safe environment that they were giving these families that was important. It was something that had been taken from them, and they didn’t know how to get back. It was something that only the Salvation Army gave them back, no strings attached. It was their peace of mind. Peace of mind that they were going to be fed, clothed and safe. Peace of mind that they were going to be okay no matter the past. They had been given hope.

This was only one of many experiences that reiterated purpose. I learned there was a reason my co-workers never complained about working long days or doing work that they wouldn’t be recognized for. It was for the purpose. And when I am working somewhere in the future, and I see that red shield, it won’t just be my former place of employment, but the place I learned that at the end of a long day of overtime, it wasn’t about the job, but the purpose.

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