An AmeriCorps Member Gets Things Done…

August 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“What do you do?”

This question is difficult, but fun to answer. Initially I tell people I am an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor; but when I add that I am also an AmeriCorps member, they inevitably respond with:

“What’s AmeriCorps?”

Prior to serving as an AmeriCorps member I honestly didn’t know myself. After research I knew it had something to do with public service, but that’s it; I didn’t understand the role of an AmeriCorps member in their community.

An AmeriCorps member gets things done by dedicating their time to serving their community with compassion and dignity. What I have learned through the months is that an AmeriCorps service year can be one of the most rewarding experiences. I have learned a lot and gained invaluable experiences. Through my AmeriCorps service year at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia I was taught essential skills that would help me serve my community better and more fully. I feel more confident moving forward in my career with the skills I have developed at the Literacy Council. Most of all, I was taught and shown how to be a leader in my community and these leadership skills will prove to be helpful as I continue in public service.

AmeriCorps, we not only “get things done” but we do it as one cohesive unit. After graduating from college I moved back to my hometown; I felt so lonely and isolated. I no longer had the close friends I had in college. After just months into my AmeriCorps service year I became really close with my colleagues at LCNV and other AmeriCorps members serving at other organizations. We planned social events outside of work, which helped us grow even more as a team. Even after our service year is over I can say that I have truly built lasting friendships with other individuals who share the same interests as me.

Finally, the most unforgettable part of my service year was the opportunity to serve my community and to interact with the people I serve. In the past I have volunteered with many other organizations where we were always raising money, collecting food or goods, or creating care packages, but I never got to see this underserved population we were helping. I feel that more so than money and material possessions, the greatest thing a person can give is time, because it is invaluable. During my AmeriCorps service year I had time to get to know the population of people I was helping. I was able to hear their stories, their needs, their wants, and their appreciation for me simply taking my time to listen. I am so happy with my AmeriCorps service year and I look forwards to many more years in public service.

Shani Brown, AmeriCorps ESOL Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

 

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