I’ve visited many homes during my summer internship at St. Ambrose, but this one was my favorite. The wall on my right was covered in landscape paintings, and the other side was a mosaic of bright red and blue. Objects from Madonna icons to wooden African sculptures to a large print in the style of Persian illuminated manuscripts decorated the shelves. The owner of the house, a thin woman wearing leggings with Charlie Chaplin prints, explained that she had been a stay-at-home mom for most of her life. In her spare time, she painted and made mosaics, which was why most of the walls were covered in glass and tile. As a hobbyist artist myself, I couldn’t stop looking around and marveling at the wonders in every corner. Later I told her that I dabbled in art and I thought her home was beautiful. She beamed, saying, “An artist can do anything with their home.”
As an Intern with the HUBS Program at St. Ambrose, I attend home visits with my supervisor; write reports to Baltimore City government about the demographics of our clients; research clients’ deeds online; record data in Microsoft Excel referencing the kinds of home repairs that our clients requested – all in a day’s work! I have also tried to improve the way we collect feedback from clients. While Civic Works created a report detailing the many positive impacts of HUBS, the St. Ambrose site did not have its own form of program evaluation. I created a 5-question survey, to be administered by phone or mail, to determine seniors’ satisfaction with their repairs and to what degree it helped them stay in their homes. While I don’t always see the end results of my work, I keep them in mind. All of my tasks help my supervisor process our clients’ applications more quickly and thus, deliver the home repairs that they need- whether it’s a stair lift, a new furnace, or patches on a leaky roof.
Before my internship, I didn’t think much about the relationship between older adults and healthy living, but now I’ve realized what an important issue it is. Seniors face a variety of challenges as they age. For example, the woman I visited who made mosaics has a back stairway that’s incredibly unstable; she can’t even walk on it. This is one of the ways St. Ambrose and the HUBS Program can offer crucial support to ensure older adults safety and well-being. It is especially important in the City of Baltimore where low-income residents have long been denied resources. I am proud that I was able to support St. Ambrose this summer in its mission!