Warm Fuzzies

warm and fuzzies

AmeriCorps members at The Learning Community in Central Falls get together every week for a check-in, a time when we share successes and challenges and learn together as a supportive team. We bring with us a small glass jar with a purple ribbon around its neck, a vessel appropriately decorated for its contents. The jar contains “warm fuzzies,” short thoughts and kind words of appreciation, thanks, and love captured by Learning Community AmeriCorps members during the previous week. At our weekly gatherings, we pass the jar around and take turns reading a “warm fuzzy” aloud, sharing in the gratitude we feel toward each other. This is one of the highlights of our weekly meetings for me, and I’d like to share a few of my own recent ideas on gratitude in the context of our work at The Learning Community.

Dear Learning Community AmeriCorps members,

Thank you for being a great group of people to work with, hang out with, and with whom I can share experiences this year. Your camaraderie and friendship have made my transition to this job a lot easier than it would otherwise have been; for that I am grateful. I look forward to continuing to get to know each of you as the individuals you are throughout the year.

Dawn

Dear Students,

…Students, the real teachers here. :) Yes, you’re teaching me how to be a teacher and how to be a leader in my personal and professional endeavors.  And I thought I was supposed to be helping you learn that…turns out we’re learning together. Thank you for making me laugh, challenging me, and reminding me to never give up.

Dawn

Dear AmeriCorps,

Thank you for this opportunity to learn and work for a year, to pour energy and ideas into something I think is important. I feel very lucky to participate in this school environment, and it is helping me learn what I want to do in the future. Thank you for all the support you give members to grow as citizens, thinkers, and professionals.

Dawn

Dear Learning Community,

It is not every day that an individual works for a school that puts as much an emphasis on continued professional learning as you do. I appreciate the ongoing opportunities you offer AmeriCorps members to learn educational strategies and methods and professional skills, strengthen interpersonal connections, and increase our involvement in the community.

Dawn

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Giving Thanks and Volunteering

The month of November is upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to give thanks and show gratitude for our families, friends, colleagues and neighbors.

Volunteering in all black at the Waterfire for Veterans!

This past Saturday the Tri-town team decided to brave the bitter cold air and volunteer our time to give thanks. Helping in what little way we can to honor our fellow Veterans for their unwavering commitment to serve our country.

Witnessing the amount of hard work and preparation put into the seemingly effortless display of the Waterfire was astonishing. The beautiful sight of the flames reflecting against the city river never ceases to amaze. Knowing that these lights were ablaze as a memorial to the Veterans of past and present warms the heart. We often take for granted those who have selflessly offered up their lives in order for us to live out ours in freedom.

At the office, we have assisted in the incoming LIHEAP (Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Programs) applications for the year while engaging with the local community as much as we can. During food bank days we offer our assistance in outreach to the incoming clients. We also have sign-ups for those interested in receiving a little thanksgiving basket for the month of November.

During our limited free time, some of us are creating visual fact sheets on household budgets. In hopes increase awareness and educate some of the incoming clients on how to better assess and utilize available funds.

The work at the office has been hectic. A challenge that we embrace full-on with our open hearts and strong minds. Knowing that the more people we meet in need of our assistance– the larger impact we are making to the greater community. The thank-yous and sighs of relief that result from our help has made the sometimes chaotic work all the more rewarding.

To be someone’s “yes” in a world that says “no” is what makes us look forward to another day at the office. The gratitude we receive positively impacts our work here at Emergency Services. It motivates us to continually strive to make another person’s day/situation/lives better even if it is for just that brief moment.

So, I encourage everyone to give thanks to those around you. It will not only make that person’s day much brighter, but I guarantee it will help you gain a better appreciation of all the blessings around you big and small.

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Education Fellows and VISTAs at The Learning Community

What does an AmeriCorps Education Fellow, at The Learning Community, a public charter school in Central Falls, do all day?

My name is Marisa Gonzalez, and I have the opportunity to serve at a great place! AmeriCorps members at The Learning Community are either Education Fellows or VISTAs. I am a part of the Ed Fellow Team, which works with all of the students (Kindergarten through 8th grade), in one-on-ones, small groups, arrival, study halls, electives, afterschool and homework centers. Most AmeriCorps members are with these fantastic students for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — with a snack or two in between. For a well-planned day, problem solving and quick thinking are required to navigate all of these responsibilities. AmeriCorps members are always looking for ways to improve the school day. During middle grade lunch, I worked with students on ways to improve clean up and dismissal times to ensure smoother transitions. Smooth transitions are important for students because they give students a good sense of organization, repetition and scheduling.

Within the Ed Fellow Team there are three smaller cohorts: English Language Development (ELD), Reading, and Math. Each cohort of Ed Fellows works with targeted students in their specialty. Every Ed Fellow has a different schedule, different students and usually teaches their own middle grade elective. I am a part of the ELD team and I teach American Sign Language for my elective. I really enjoy working with different languages.

Our VISTA team shares some of these same responsibilities as well as having their own projects and unique contributions to add to the community we work in. All together we make up The Learning Community AmeriCorps team, and love having this opportunity to serve.

Below Education Fellows spending a chilly Fall Sunday together at Dame Farm- a hay ride, a corn maze and of course caramel apples!
mesecornmaze

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The Financial Stability Tri-Town Community Team

PSX_20141029_004505

We are a team of half-time AmeriCorps members aiming to increase the rate of financial literacy in the greater community, providing outreach, assessments, and advice at two major Tri-town Community Action Agencies in Rhode Island (North Providence and South County in Wakefield). Through our efforts, members in the community will strengthen their confidence level and ability to be financially self-reliant.

Clients are able to increase their financial knowledge through consultation sessions that aim to help clients plan and manage their overall finances. Clients will improve their financial standing by creating a monthly budget, establishing a positive banking experience and saving for future expenses. The goal is to have more money left in their pockets at the end of the month.

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Donations Needed for Crossroads Camp!

Please post this flyer at your service sites if possible, thank you! Email me with any questions.

 

Donation Flyer 2014, Goods

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Crossroads Camp

Every year, OSEEC works together with its service sites and members of the community in order to host a camp for children that are temporarily living at Crossroads Rhode Island, the leading homeless services organization in the state. Through Crossroads Camp, the homeless youth of Crossroads RI will visit three of OSEEC’s partner sites: Save the Bay, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo, in addition to local parks and natural areas in mid-August.

Currently, we are working at securing food donations for daily breakfast, snacks, and lunch for every child. We are also accepting donations of: Backpacks, Towels, Reusable water bottles, Bottles of sunscreen, Rash guards, and Snorkel gear.

We’ve compiled a list of possible donation sites that we will be soliciting, but if anyone else has any information, tips, or would like to donate, please feel free to contact myself at fdandrea@oseec.org or Gerlisa at ggarrett@oseec.org.

Thanks for all of your help!

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Volunteer Opportunity

There is an exciting opportunity for volunteer hours in the library this summer for students interested in gaining library experience. 

The library is looking for volunteers to help tag books, enabling them to be checked in and out. It is a low-impact opportunity! Not a lot of standing and you get to see our extensive collection!

If you are interested, or know anyone who might be, please put them in contact with our Head of Circulation, Donna Snead at (401) 455-8000 or at dsnead@provlib.org.

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