The Benefits of Networking

I wasn’t expecting to get much out the Young Professionals Networking event I went to last Thursday, but little to my surprise I won a $25 gift card to a local coffee shop, had tasty food, and met great connections.

Never underestimate a networking event!

The gift card I won was sponsored by Interfaith Works. I figured since I had been to a few interfaith conferences before, I would probably have something in common with her. It turns out Interfaith Works does not participate in interfaith dialogue directly. Instead, Interfaith Works is a nonprofit serving the people of Montgomery Country who are homeless or needing housing (helping over 800 people annual). They get their funding from multiple faith based organizations, that’s where the name comes from.

Later that night I was offered a tour of their Empowerment Center, and took her up on it! I arranged to meet at Progress Place on Monday at 10am.

By the time Monday morning came, I arrived to work and saw that my boss's daughter was with her. She was pretty bored and looking for something to do, so I brought her along with me. When we arrived at 10am we were accompanied by a couple from a local church.

During the tour I was able to see all that they offer:

  • Free laundry machines available to the public
  • Free showers
  • A warm place to stay during the day, and in the evenings during the winter
  • Social workers
  • Classes, such as job preparation

I was impressed by all of the things they were doing to help the local community. I also liked how the building was arranged. They share it with Shepard's Table, which serves food daily on the first floor, and a medical clinic. So, when people come to the Progress Place they can access multiple things at once, making it extremely convenient.

This was a cool opportunity for my boss’s daughter on her day off of school. She had never been to a shelter before and was encouraged at the end to ask about volunteer opportunities and was eager to help at the other locations, such as the women’s center, or clothing center. For me, I would love to volunteer there if I was ever to be back in the area.

After the tour I took my boss's daughter to a coffee shop to use part of my $25 gift card and then headed back to work to get a few things done.  

Looking ahead to later this week, I have a few more networking events to attend to...I am meeting with Congressman Dean Phillips tomorrow with another HI staff member 1) to speak about the work HI does and 2) because I am one of his constituents! On Thursday the executive director of HI is taking me out for a farewell lunch. And then Friday will be my last day as an intern!

To all my Midwestern friends: stay warm this week in the below freezing temperatures, and I will see you all soon!


Progress Place, where Interfaith Works is located
A photo of Becca and her prize...a $25 gift card to a local coffee shop.
A photo of the Networking event, with people enjoying food and chatting.