Earlier this summer, NeighborLink welcomed two interns to our team thanks to a partnership with Brotherhood Mutual. One of those interns is Kyle Zurbach, a junior at Purdue University Fort Wayne. As our Volunteer Mobilization Intern, Kyle spends much of his time at volunteer sites assisting with a wide variety of projects submitted by neighbors around our community.
Over the past week and a half, Kyle has been stuck at home due to issues related to COVID-19 within his family. During that time, Kyle has been self-isolating from work and the world around him while navigating the uncertainties caused by the virus. Although Kyle and his family are doing great, we continue to lift them up in prayer.
Through this unforeseen detour, Kyle has continued to add value to NeighborLink in many ways. Since he has been part of our team for just over a month, we thought it would be a great time for you to get to know him better. We asked him what his greatest takeaways have been so far in his five-week journey as NeighborLink’s Volunteer Mobilization Intern. Here’s what he had to say:
During isolation, I have been able to reflect on the great experiences and interactions I've had so far while working at NeighborLink.
When I began my internship, I noticed that all of the staff had a true understanding of what being a neighbor really is. For most of my life, I believed that a neighbor was only someone who lived within the boundaries of my own personal neighborhood.
However, as I got to know to my fellow coworkers and we began to speak more about the in’s and out’s of NeighborLink, it didn’t take long for me to have a change of heart. It was then that I finally understood who my neighbors truly are. They aren’t just the people who live in the confines of my own neighborhood. Instead, they’re anyone and everyone I come in contact with. My neighbors, I now believe, might look, speak, and act differently than me, but they all deserve to be helped and listened to.
While learning all of this, I also started helping to identify and lead projects with my coworkers Derrick and Jeff. These two guys have done a really great job in helping me understand what my role at NeighborLink really is.
At this point, I have participated in a wide variety of projects, including mowing, landscaping, painting, and ramp building. One of my favorite projects so far was helping to build a ramp for a senior neighbor named Brenda. It was amazing to be part of the team that created the ramp for her because I know it will help Brenda’s overall quality of life. While we were onsite, Brenda was still recovering in the hospital and not able to see the work that had just been completed. Although I was not able to meet her, I found joy in knowing that she was my neighbor.
Overall, the last five weeks have been deeply impactful for me, especially in terms of how I view others. No longer do I look at others as strangers but as neighbors who I can love and care for, even without seeing them face to face.