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AMERICORPS Reflections

Reflections on a Year of National Service

~December 2011~

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


Sky Friedlander

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!

teacher and students

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?



photo Sky Friedlander hails from State College, Pennsylvania.  She attended Maryland Institute College of Art for one year and proceeded to transfer to Penn State University, where she graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in English.  This year she is pleased to call herself a member of the Federal Way AmeriCorps team!


Laura Ingalls is a recent graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She received her Bachelor's in print journalism and political science with a minor in religion. She moved to Washington in August to join the Federal Way Public Schools AmeriCorps team. Tentatively, she has plans to return to school in order to pursue a teaching degree while she continues to serve her community in any capacity she can.


photo Monica Kaplan, graduated in May 2009 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, with a Bachelor of Science degree. I am currently serving with the AmeriCorps Program in the Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS). Volunteering hands and heart to service, changing young minds, and making a difference in the greater scheme of life. ands and mind to service, changing young minds, and making a difference in the greater scheme of life.


Corporation for National and Community Service

Interested in becoming an Americorps volunteer?


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