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Reflections on a Year of National Service
Editor's Note: For the fourth year an AmeriCorps or VISTA member from the Federal Way AmeriCorps and VISTA Team has written a reflections column for Volunteer. Instead of one writer this year, three AmeriCorp members will share this column space. These columns are a reflections of the impact that volunteering has on someone's life. Enjoy.
Federal Way AmeriCorps and VISTA Team. Established in 1995, the Federal Way AmeriCorps program works to strengthen the Federal Way community through academic tutoring and modeling an ethic of service.
AmeriCorps members in Federal Way serve full time in the Federal Way Public Schools. In addition to tutoring students and developing before and after school programs, members manage two community tutoring programs, implement civic engagement community projects and serve in area service projects. AmeriCorps members also recruit and train community volunteers. For more information on their programs http://www.fwps.org/dept/volunteer/acfw.html
WHY I THINK I BELONG IN EDUCATION AFTER ALL
My belief stems from an observation I made throughout my day as an AmeriCorps volunteer in a school:
I woke up at four this morning, by accident. When I was setting my alarm last night I, regrettably, set my clock ahead by two hours. After I figured this out, I spent the next hour and a half lying in my bed, worrying, until I fell into a stress dream about wearing sweatpants to work. Then I woke up, for real, and worried while I ate breakfast, washed my face, picked out an outfit, and I rode in the car to work. I worried during my prep period, about paperwork and grad school and the students I serve and my job performance. I worried about everything.
But then I went to class, and helped a group of students with their math problems. I wasn't worrying about paperwork, or grad school or my performance or anything. I forgot about the cold I'd been fighting for a week or two. I was, for once, focused on the moment. And I don't even like Math!
I've had a lot of schemes for the future (hare-brained or otherwise). But I've never had a job that I was able to focus on so completely, even if only for a class period or tutoring session at a time. That's got to mean something, right? I know right now, I am focusing on the positives; I've had quite a few rough days when volunteering with students that seems unimaginably challenging. I've walked back to my office, hoping I don't start crying and make everyone uncomfortable.
Is it bad to focus on the good parts, though? The students who wave to me in the hallways, the awesome high five I get when a student works through a problem? And that lovely way the time flies by, when I'm focused completely on my work?
Corporation for National and Community Service
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