Symbols of Service

Symbols of Service

In my year of experience as an AV, there have been countless people and ideas I have run into to challenge and mold my understanding of what it means to practice service. The most inspirational of which has constantly been my supervisor at my placement at HIAS Pennsylvania, Shaloo.

When I first got to know Shaloo, I admired her because I thought she was one of the leading examples of someone who put love into practice. She cared for every person she met, strangers that she runs into, her co-workers, and all the clients she serves. One time a Drexel intern who worked with her for 6 months told her, “Shaloo, if you ever asked me to stop what I’m doing and devote my life to work for you, I’d do it.” That’s the kind of influence she is able to have as a supervisor.

And in time I learned there was something more to what Shaloo does. In workplaces, I like to create boundaries and understand what falls under my territory and what is something that someone else seems to simply be trying to put into my responsibility. But I’ve noticed in my year that sometimes, I take on projects that I otherwise wouldn’t think to take because I know that otherwise, they will fall to Shaloo’s responsibility. I thought about that more as the year went on, and noticed that strikingly with Shaloo more than others I work with. When situations change and there comes a need from our clients, Shaloo has no hesitation to put herself in the middle of it and stand with the client through their stresses. She’s become a leader not through the art of telling clients how to work through their situations, but by being able to represent the very clients she serves.

This level of representation comes from sacrificing your own schedule to clients’ needs. I’ve learned through Shaloo that this form of service brings inconvenience; when you least want to deal with situations, they will find you. But that comes with what service is because these situations find our clients in the same inconvenient ways. It then becomes our job to feel that inconvenience and walk through that frustration with them if we are to truly put love into practice.

Jared Gencarella

Philadelphia, PA 2019-2020

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