Homelessness in America

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19 Apr 2019
by Victoria Harrison

I’m writing this update with much pride and gratitude from a small village very close to Mystic, Connecticut. There’s a rich tapestry of goodwill knitted together that has enabled me to take my first steps, and indeed months, in the United States. Although three months of study and travel alone in a new country can be challenging, there has hardly been moments where a smile has left the corners of my mouth, especially when I remind myself how I came to be here.

This is a good opportunity to extend deep thanks to the scholarship donors unknown to me who made my Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship possible by giving. Thanks also to my long-suffering friends and family who donated towards my own fundraising target, as it’s my profession we know that it isn’t the first or last time that I’ll “shake a bucket” in your direction but I am, as ever, very thankful.

Gratitude is also due to those who gave time, encouragement and shared knowledge as well as monetary support including my scholarship mentor Rachel Armitage, scholarship Treasurer Russ Blenkinsop, Historian Yvonne Armitage and my employer Framework, especially my Fundraising Manager Chris Senior. Many of you have a belief in me that really helped me to maintain belief in myself. I could not have achieved this pursuit of knowledge without you.

I’ll be sure to write again but with less than two weeks until returning to the UK I’d like to share some highlights with you. I’ve travelled across in the North, East, South, West and the centre of this vast country, I have visited approximately fifty non-profit organisations, attended a world-leading charity conference and met inspiring people who devote their entire being to making the world a better place. I had the honour of connecting personally with the Roosevelt family and meeting Sarah Schoonmaker, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great-granddaughter. I have heard incredible music in churches, jazz-dens and on the streets. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers (especially those who have welcomed me into their homes) and the beauty of this sprawling land and I’ve vowed never, ever again to spend more than 60 hours continuously on a train.

Both professionally and outside of employment I’ve found there is a seemingly impenetrable spirit of so many American people that encourages them to tackle any obstacle. It is this feeling and willingness to share that has opened my eyes to the wonders of Yosemite National Park, the swamp-life and carnivals of Louisiana and provided exceptional knowledge that will improve the routes to my own philanthropic goals.

I have built a network of fundraising professionals along my way that I know I can now turn to for support, best-practice and sharing. The discussions I have lead and contributed to have given birth to new ideas and the space and time to think in new settings has been invaluable. I feel a new drive for fresh possibilities has been ignited in my mind and I look forward to beginning a new chapter of my career using my learnings to benefit my own work-ethic, to Framework and all those we exist to support.    

I will return to the UK at the beginning of May, before then I’m going to squeeze in as much learning and experiences as physically possible.

You can email Tori with questions or comments at toriharrison@rooseveltscholarship.org

You can see more images from the locations of Tori’s adventures on Instagram @the_auditorium or https://www.instagram.com/the_auditorium/

Tori will be speaking at the Nottingham Digital Summit on July, 3rd: https://www.nottinghamdigitalsummit.co.uk

Find out more about the Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship at: https://rooseveltscholarship.org/

 

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