April 27 – Chicago Coalition for the Homeless welcomes a community organizing fellow from Budapest, Hungary. Simon Molnár will spend four weeks working with CCH organizers and community leaders, the ninth central European fellow to be placed with CCH since 2012.
Organizing fellows are placed through the Great Lakes Consortium (GLC) for International Training and Development, with 18 fellows placed with U.S. groups this spring. Through the program, CCH also has sent four organizers to Europe to train community groups in Hungary and Romania. A fifth staff member, Associate Organizing Director Wayne Richard, will travel to Slovakia and Hungary in July as part of the 2016 exchange.
Simon has worked four years for the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, currently directing a staff of 30 at a Budapest shelter serving 26 homeless families. He began his career as an addiction counselor in 2010, and two years later established low-threshold services for addicts in rural Hungary. He still offers counseling in his free time.
In 2014 Simon began to offer development trainings in social competencies for social worker students at Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church. He will complete a degree as a family therapist in 2017 and already has an effective practice.
Simon speaks Slovakian, Hungarian and English. Holding a master’s degree in theology, he has studied in Dublin, Ireland, and volunteered for five months at a religious order in Israel.
During his month in Chicago, Simon will live with the families of CCH Board member Richard Goldstein and Associate Organizing Director Hannah Willage.
In his GLC profile, Simon said he is influenced by the work of Carl Rogers, the late U.S. psychologist. Simon is “particularly interested in person-centered encounter groups as a group member and as a facilitator as well. Mr. Molnár defines himself as a facilitator and catalyst. He would like to improve his skills in empowerment on personal and organizational level during this fellowship program, according to his life philosophy: empowering rather than curing.”
– Anne Bowhay, Media