Interview with AmeriCorps Alumni Margie Chardiet

I would like to introduce you to Margie Chardiet. Margie is from New Haven, Connecticut and served as an AmeriCorps member from 2012 to 2013 at the East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP). After her service, she was offered a position at EBCAP and she decided to stay. Margie’s commitment to service was so inspiring that we decided to learn more about her. Below you will find our interview with Margie.

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What was the best part of your service?
“The best part of my service was the education. I had only worked in restaurants previously and I have a degree in creative writing. I learned a lot. It was like a crash course in social services.”

What made you stay at EBCAP?
“I chose to stay because I knew that I would be supported by my supervisor (Angela Downing). It gave me a chance to get more involved than I was as an AmeriCorps member. It meant more responsibility and more accountability, but it also meant a great support system.”

How has your view of service been affected by your AmeriCorps term?
“Before I began my AmeriCorps term, my view of service was pretty scarce. When I thought about service, it was more in a context of giving. When I started the work, I realized how much of a balance it is. So much of it is receiving knowledge and giving it back.”

Do you see yourself staying in human services?
“Yes. I am interested in getting a master’s in social work, but I am not sure where it is going to take me.”

How is the work you do now different from your AmeriCorps term?
“Both programs I work in now are home visiting programs. They are the Youth Success Program and the East Bay Coalition for the Homeless. While in AmeriCorps, I worked in the Youth Success Program and Safety Net. Because both programs I work with now require regular home visits, my present position allows for more longevity with the clients.”

Do you have any advice for others wishing to pursue a career in social services?
“Really take time out of work to make sure you take care of yourself because what you deal with can be very tragic and hard to grapple with emotionally. You can combat the difficulties you will face by making sure you focus on self-care during your free time.”

Would you consider committing to another AmeriCorps term?
“No. I was able to use it for its educational services, but financially I would not be able to do it. I was very happy to do it for a year. It was very stressful financially. I did appreciate it for what it was”

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