Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

IRSC member Liz Irk

Liz Irk — Cancer Support Community

Current IRSC job:
Multi-Cultural Outreach Coordinator for Cancer Support Community (CSC). Liz’s duties focus on reaching out to immigrant and refugee communities impacted by cancer, including organizing cancer-related educational opportunities for refugees and immigrants, recruiting and managing bilingual volunteers, coordinating outreach interpreters and managing material translations

Why Liz chose AmeriCorps service:
”I gained a greater understanding of inequalities and injustices in our country and world and why they exist while I was in college,” Liz said.” I remember people from other countries telling me how unwelcome they felt when they arrived to the U.S.. I wanted to be part of an effort to let people know they are important and welcome, no matter who they are or where they came from.”

What Liz has gotten out her of AmeriCorps service to date and how it has changed her:

I have learned about the balance between giving of oneself in order to serve and loving oneself in order to maintain well-being

Liz Irk
“I’ve realized the difference between self-sacrifice and selflessness. It is easy to give and give of oneself to help others without nurturing ourselves. When we fall into this, the joy from within that initially inspired to serve becomes depleted. If giving of oneself is not matched with giving to oneself, we have let self-sacrifice take control of our lives and failed to see that we cannot wholly love our neighbor unless we love ourselves. Self-sacrifice and selflessness are different things. You can be selfless and still love yourself without sacrificing your well-being. When we sacrifice our well-being, we are unable to fully give our love and gifts to help better the world. We learn to love others by learning to fully love ourselves. This has been a hard lesson to learn.

liz irkWhy Liz thinks AmeriCorps members in IRSC are important:
There are many underserved people in the U.S. Newcomers also have cultural and language barriers. Non-English speakers have a hard time learning about available resources. IRSC helps overcome those challenges and empower people. There are few programs available for non- English speakers about cancer, especially ones sensitive to cultural barriers. CSC wants to help overcome that.

Approximately how many people does CSC serve and what services does it provide?
CSC serves an average of  320 people per month.  We exist to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone. We provide free holistic mind/body programs for cancer patients and their loved ones.

College degree:  
Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Computer Graphics Technology, with a minor in Art and Design from Purdue University.

Volunteer work outside of AmeriCorps:
During the school year, Liz mentors three Burmese boys who are refugees.

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