Heartland Alliance’s Resource Center is a place where men and women go to get off the street, to be welcomed as a member of the community, and to engage in their own recovery around homelessness, mental illness, and in some cases addiction. One of the people there to help them in that process is Mallory Price, a social work student intern.
When asked why she chose to pursue a career in social work, Mallory says, “Even though I came from a lower socio-economic background, I had opportunities. And I want to ensure that all individuals are given the dignity, respect, and opportunities to live free from the barriers of oppression so that they can reach their full human capacity.” In fact, Mallory’s personal mission statement lines up closely with Heartland’s Philosophy of Care. “I feel that I am called to advocate for those who have no voice and who are marginalized or forgotten about in society. I want to empower others and help create a change in the social thought of this country so that all people can look at one another, and no matter how different they are from each other, they can see the value and worth in the other person. While my ambitions may be idealistic to some, I feel that being a social worker means being a person who brings optimism into others’ lives, to show them that the future contains endless possibilities and to be confident that the future will bring hope.”
A fresh-faced young woman, at first glance she may seem out of place in this environment. However, Mallory has no problem relating to the participants she works with. Since her internship began last fall, Mallory has developed strong therapeutic relationships with several of the community members. One man, quiet and well-dressed, whose outward appearance belies the internal struggles he faces, seeks her out directly when he comes to visit the Center. Mallory has an unassuming style that he has warmed up to, and he has been able to share with her some of his inner turmoil.
Resource Center staff appreciates how Mallory is attentive to the “little things”, the individual needs of our participants. She also makes use of her own resources and personal network for their benefit. Mallory brings vitality and energy to the program, and has introduced a new group called Self-Expression that helps participants use written words and drawings to share their personal experiences with others. She hopes that ultimately she will be able to bring this material together into a collection that can be shared with the larger community to enhance understanding of mental illness and homelessness by “putting a face on it” and making it personal.
Mallory quotes JFK saying, ‘One person can make a difference and everyone should try.’ For Mallory, “being a social worker is my way of trying to make a difference in the world.”