Kelsey Palmer: Empowering the Powerless to Make Real Change

by Kelsey Palmer, GLIDE Walk-In Center, MSW Intern

Kelsey Palmer, GLIDE Walk-In Center, MSW Intern

Kelsey Palmer, GLIDE Walk-In Center, MSW Intern

For as long as I can remember, I have been enamored by cities. At their best, they are innovative, dynamic, and bustling with activity. At their worst, cities can be chaotic, frightening, and dirty. The vast difference from one edge of a city to the other is a remarkable testament to humanity’s diversity, and demonstrates that one’s external environment has an undeniable influence on his or her social condition.

Within San Francisco, this diversity is alarmingly apparent. Walk a mile in any direction down most streets and you will see most kinds of people. My urban neighbors vary from high-power entrepreneurs to individuals who can’t afford to eat. I moved to San Francisco armed with an undergraduate degree in social work and sociology, but was still shocked to see the extent of class divisions here. Upon discovering GLIDE, I was enthused to find an organization that holistically attends to the needs of individuals at the margins of society.

This month, I began an internship at GLIDE as a part of my graduate work. My degree will be a Masters of Social Work through the University of Southern California, focused on Community Organization, Planning, and Administration. Specifically, I hope to be involved with GLIDE’s macro-level work that assesses, drafts, and implements programs and policies. My internship will allow for a significant intersection of my long-time interest in cities, the knowledge I’ve gained in my studies, and the professional experience I carry from previous social work positions. I anticipate that bringing these all into the context of GLIDE will strengthen me as a professional as well as brew fresh ideas for effectively serving those who are oppressed.

Throughout my time in San Francisco, I’ve had the privilege of engaging in both personal and professional work that has connected me to a variety of individuals in the city. From the undocumented and uninsured patient at SF General Hospital, to the teenager victimized by gun violence in the Bayview, to the addictively ill mother incarcerated at the County Jail – their stories have shown me the depth of need within the city. In these direct service settings, I often felt like I was putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. It helps for a time, but I’m eager to find solutions that care for the whole person and create lasting systemic change.

What motivates me to do social work each day is the hope of improving underserved neighborhoods by empowering the residents of these areas to change their community. In my lifetime, I have been privileged to have access to quality education, which is perhaps the greatest resource one can have. In study and in practice, I have learned to speak the language of those who are resourced as well as those who are not. My hope, now and long-term, is to serve as a “translator” between these two communities, connecting those with power to those who are powerless.

I look forward to the opportunities that will be cultivated in this next season at GLIDE.

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Do you care about building community and advancing social justice in San Francisco? Are you searching for ways to serve and advocate for our city's most vulnerable people? The GLIDE Legacy Committee is recruiting new members through November 3! .
Join a group of motivated young professionals who are committed to GLIDE's mission to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. To apply or request more info, please send your resume and a statement of interest to Moses Ike and Kevin Pong via youngprofessionals@glide.org .
We look forward to hearing from you! #unconditionallove #community @glidesflegacy @wyattmm @brentongieser @amygardner9 @lauranthom @like_theres_no_tamara @krayjay_ @msemmyhelene @sublimerubbish @alissagrier @just_faffing @sldowd Check our homepage for a message of hope and recovery from GLIDE's leadership team. Link in profile. #northbayfires #recovery #disasterrelief #wednesdaywisdom TOMORROW, 2:00 pm, Freedom Hall: Join the GLIDE community for a free performance by Golden Thread Productions of "Oh My Sweet Land." Check out our interview with the director, Torange Yeghiazarian, to learn about this moving and timely story and why she chose GLIDE as a venue (link in profile)! Following the performance, there will be home-cooked Syrian food and community conversation. All are welcome! 
#sftheatre #bayareaarts #realtalk #community #discussion #syrianconflict #middleeast #refugeecrisis @cuttingball @zendesk @tndcsf @stanthonysf @projectopenhand @counterpulse @odcikin Did you know that October is #domesticviolenceawarenessmonth? Stay tuned for news on how GLIDE recognizes and addresses this important issue. #repost from @anewyearsrevolution  #takeastand

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