Meet a Summer Staffer | Allie Brown
Earlier this month our program director Kelly Coon got the chance to catch up with our stellar one-woman AV team from the summer of 2016, Allie Brown. She was an absolute JOY to have on staff and we miss her laughs, photos skills, and easy going presence so much now that she’s back at UT Chatt finishing up her senior year! Read on for Allie’s perspective on #sosmemphis16!
How do you describe your summer staff experience to someone who’s never heard of SOS?
It’s an opportunity to learn and grow in a zillion different ways, from learning how to love your brothers and sisters well on a daily basis to working healthily in teams to learning to ask for help when you need it instead of trying to do everything by your own power. In this kind of environment, communication is huge. You learn how to communicate well with people. SOS summer staff is an incredible opportunity to serve constantly--fellow summer staff, the community, the campers. Time at SOS taught me that there is always an opportunity to serve. So much so that serving becomes a habit rather than a special occasion. It’s your reaction rather than an afterthought.
This summer changed my everyday perspective on serving. It taught me to start by serving my roommates, the people that are right around me. It helped me develop eyes to see opportunities to serve everywhere--doing the dishes, surprising friends with little pick-me-ups, listening well. It has given me a new perspective on serving with my time, teaching me to make myself available to people so I can listen to them and listen for ways I can serve them. Not to mention the incredible opportunity to worship every single night. Killer!
What was one thing the Lord taught you here that has stuck with you as you returned to college?
We are all impoverished. Looking at the world and at the community you’re working in through that lens make a big difference for me. I always thought that materially poor people were different from me but they’re not. I’m just as impoverished as they are and they are just as valuable and worthy of love as I am. This was taught from the very beginning and framed the whole summer for me.
How has it affected the way you see the world?
My eyes were opened to racial injustices for the first time. This was a HUGE paradigm shift for me. I was able to be educated not just to be aware but for application in my life. I was able to listen to the stories of injustice and it drove home what I was already learning about making myself available to listen to others experiences. Being vulnerable enough to ask “What has your experience been?” Listening to their story without interrupting or evangelizing right off the bat. Knowing the way you view or perceive the world isn’t the same for everyone.
What was your favorite part of being on SOS summer staff?
The community-- I loved getting to live in a small space with girls who became like my sisters. I learned how to show people grace and was shown immense amount of grace. It was such a good opportunity to learn to love even when you feel really empty, to draw from the well that the Lord gives you, not out of your own strength. Also, I just loved how much teaching you receive as a staffer-- hearing from lawyers, pastors, social justice workers, community members. I think I understood concepts before but learning by hearing others experiences was super meaningful to me.
Thank you, dearest Allie, for taking time to reflect on your summer with me! - Kelly Coon