A Shield of Belonging
“The Salvation Army has encompassed my life and changed who I am,” says Lindsey Harrington. “What I have experienced here has defined me as a person.”
Lindsey’s mother sent her three children to The Salvation Army in Lowell after school., where Lindsey joined the Sunbeams, a character-building scouting program for young girls. When the summer came, she was invited to attend camp with the other Sunbeams.
“Camp is home.” Lindsey remembers her first summer at Camp Wonderland in Sharon when she was just six years old. “Camp was the most exciting place in the world. I remember that all of the other girls in my cabin were crying. After a while, I did too, because I thought I was supposed to be homesick. But I wasn’t. I loved every minute of it.”
Lindsey never missed a summer. “Just the fact that people were watching me and caring for me is the reason I’m still here.”
Unfortunately, Lindsey could not count on that kind of care at home. Her mother’s drug and alcohol addiction distracted her focus from her children.
“It isn’t like my mother didn’t try. She just doesn’t know how to love.”
By the time Lindsey was 12, the situation had worsened. She went to live with her grandmother and her two siblings were placed in foster care. Lindsey continued to feel loved at The Salvation Army.
As soon as she was of age, she applied to work at camp. She worked for five summers, eventually as a senior counselor. The job challenged her in many ways, but the rewards were greater. “I loved to see God alive in their lives as a result of being at camp.”
Lindsey says she chose to attend Gordon College because the Christian community was similar to what she experienced during her summers at camp.
In December 2015, Lindsey graduated with a social work degree. She was immediately hired as the caseworker at The Salvation Army in Lynn, starting her career in the midst of the Christmas rush.