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Meet Emily

My name is Emily and I live in the East Side Neighborhood. I work as a Family Development Specialist at Community Action Program on North Queen St. As a social worker, building mentoring relationships and empowering our neighborhoods is something I value.

I grew up 10 minutes outside of Lancaster city on a small farm. While I was at school at Temple University, I vowed I would never come back to live in small conservative, Lancaster. My love for the city was growing and I couldn't image myself living anywhere but Philly. An internship turned my game-plan around and the next thing I knew I was somehow back in Lancaster.

However, this time I was living in Lancaster city and despite the chip on my shoulder, this small town started surprising me. I began attending a small church, West End Mennonite, that is actively involved in their neighborhood and makes room for questions in the midst of faith. I started to think maybe I could make Lancaster home. I have now enjoyed living in Lancaster for four years. If only we had bike lines and more murals. Slowly but surely.

Three people now living I would like to have lunch with:

My dad- I have learned that people who are the quietest, have the most wisdom to share if we only ask and listen.
Liz Hess - Her personal story as well as her art work are intriguing.
Ron Clark- What if Lancaster city not only became known for its business development but also for unique academic opportunities for our city's students?

The cause I most believe in is: Empowering people who are on the fringes. The new program Circles is a great example of what this could look like, as mentoring is a powerful way to share our social capital.

Name three things on your bucket list.

- Live in a city when I am 75 years old
- Bicycle around New Zealand
- Give up drinking coffee everyday

What did you want to be when you grew up? An artist.

My greatest accomplishment is... Biked with three friends from Calgary, Alberta to Denver, Colorado in a month. We carried everything on our bikes and set up tents along the way. Before doing this, I never dreamed of being able to bike through the Colorado Rockies. Those mountains are long and steep! Bike touring is a world in and of itself.

My unfulfilled ambition is... Living overseas for an extended amount of time.

Three words to describe me are...

Follower of Jesus

Tell us something about you that most people don't know. I just finished designing and painting a mural on the East Side Community Kitchen. It's was an amazing journey of perseverance and community effort, that couldn't have been accomplished without the help of many. The owner, Leah Margerum, and I used Kickstarter to fund the project and create awareness. Check it out - East Side Community Kitchen.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? Did I set the automatic coffee maker last night?

What's the farthest-away place you've been? Not very far; Mount Denali, Alaska. But I'm not worried, traveling is on my bucket list.

What do you think Lancaster will be like in ten years? A coffee shop on every other block, more roof top gardens, and creative businesses constantly appearing. That is exciting, but I also wonder about the effects it is having our lower-income neighborhoods outside of our downtown area.

What do you consider to be Lancaster City's greatest asset? Our greatest asset is the value we put on our relationships with our neighbors in small and big contexts.

Grabbing a bite in Lancaster with - $5, $10, $30 - Where (and what):

$5 - Smiley's Deli - Pretzel Sandwhich
$10 - Rafiki's at Central Market - Kajiji Salad
$30 - Sakura - Drunken Noodle

What are the best aspects of your job? I have a great balance between networking and making referrals as well as building rapport with my clients in their homes.

Would you describe yourself as introverted or extroverted? An introvert that is learning to thrive in an extroverted world. Thank you Susan Cain.

What is your coffee shop drink of choice? I'm really cheap: Regular coffee with cream and a little sugar.

What music are you listening to now? The Head and the Heart

Best advice from your parents... Growing up on a farm is something to appreciate. Only now that I am older can I look back and appreciate the hours of weeding and picking green beans during the summer. That taught me a lot about applying myself.

What should they have taught you in school but didn't? Life rarely plays out the way we expect. Learning to adapt is vital to moving forward.

If there is one thing life has taught me it is... "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share when we are uncool." Almost Famous