ESU Student Goes Above and Beyond, Secures Mobility Assistance for Street2Feet Consumer

Alice Montes

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on April 5, 2023, 2 Comments

Internships help students develop new and strengthen existing skill sets, and apply classroom theory to real-life situations. And in the case of two ESU students, they are a way to positively impact the lives of others.

Alice Montes, a senior from Canadensis, Pa, is an intern this spring at Street2Feet, a day shelter for homeless adults in East Stroudsburg. Some of her most important tasks are opening the shelter’s doors and greeting each individual every morning, including learning the names of all of the people who utilize the shelter’s services. “We can get up to 50 people a day, so learning all of the names is tough but worthwhile. I feel that knowing everyone’s name makes them feel appreciated,” she said.

As part of her internship, Montes had to write a case study on one of the shelter’s consumers to learn how the organization benefits them. She chose a consumer named Kirk whom she had gotten to know. Kirk is physically disabled and uses a walker. “I saw him and noticed he was having trouble making breakfast and taking care of himself,” Montes said. “I saw that he had a walker but thought he might do better with a wheelchair.” Montes connected with her fellow ESU student Samantha Engelhardt, a senior from Bethlehem, Pa., who is interning at the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL), an organization that helps disabled consumers achieve or maintain their independence through various services and programs. They discussed what Kirk needed, and LVCIL had a motorized wheelchair available.

Engelhardt explains, “One of the first things I did when I started my internship at LVCIL was go around and have a conversation with each person. I spoke with Fatima [Nabavian], who handles the assistive technology. People can donate items in good condition to LVCIL. They are cleaned up and reused. When Alice approached me about the wheelchair, I knew who she could contact, and I put her in touch with Fatima.”

Montes secured the wheelchair and coordinated transportation to bring it to Street2Feet for Kirk. “He was really excited,” Montes said. “When he got it, he had the biggest smile on his face.” People like Kirk are why Montes and Engelhardt have a devotion for helping others. “I have two brothers with disabilities—that’s what pulled me into this field,” Montes said. “I love working with people. I feel very happy for Kirk because I see his growth. He’s changed. He’s happier, he can get around more. It brings warmth to my heart. I’m glad he’s doing better.”

After this experience, Montes is excited to pursue a career advocating for and assisting people. She is not completely set on her future plans yet but is considering a few options. Engelhardt has secured employment with LVCIL after graduation in May. She is proud to have played a role in making life a little easier for Kirk. “I feel this was huge for him. Alice advocated for this consumer, and it ended up changing his entire life. It gave this person a huge step toward achieving things independently.”

2 Responses to “ESU Student Goes Above and Beyond, Secures Mobility Assistance for Street2Feet Consumer”

Becca Freiday

Posted April 5, 2023 at 6:31 PM

I am so proud to be part of the Rehabilitative and Human Service major, stories like this are why it shows how important human services are, and the people that serve individuals with disabilities truly care about getting people to live functional, valued lives where they can be in their communities and now with a powered wheelchair! Nice job Rehab. Team!
<3 Becca Freiday

Dr. Gina Scala

Posted April 5, 2023 at 9:11 PM

So very proud of you Alice and Samantha. You are doing work that makes a difference…and you do it without needing any recognition. You are true representatives of the Rehabilitative and Human Services program. Thank you!