To choose to serve, one has to consider themselves as well as their community or another community in need. Most people decide to serve because they feel a calling to help others. I’ve had this calling for years. I felt it especially strongly after an Alternative Spring Break trip to Georgia my senior year of college. Some friends and I put 5 days of work into a piece of property in Valdosta, GA. We worked alongside a family to put up the roof and walls of a house. By the time we left, the building was on its way to becoming a home for five hardworking, deserving family. It was a feeling of accomplishment and purpose I had never experienced before. I decided soon after that that AmeriCorps was for me.
I chose to serve the children of The Learning Community Charter School to expose myself to a community that I’ve heard a lot about, but wasn’t familiar with. These children grew up so different from me, and they have just as much to teach me as I have to teach them. Although many of them grow up in poverty, their amazing families and their school community give them every opportunity to be educated and to have options for their futures. Any part I can play in that – whether it means helping them improve their NECAP scores, or being another adult they can trust and depend on – is meaningful and fulfilling.
Furthermore, I am given the unique opportunity to serve while at the same time getting meaningful experience towards a career in elementary education. Without having to be a substitute teacher, I am able to interact with students, teachers, and administrators on a daily basis. I have learned professionalism, good teaching practice, and the ins and outs of a school. I know what it really means to be an educator, and I feel prepared to take on the role now more than ever.
I am confident that by the time my service year is up, I will feel fulfilled in the help I was able to provide to my students, and be ready to begin a meaningful career working with children. I am so happy I chose to serve, to discover talents I didn’t know I had, and to help amazing children to succeed today and in the future.