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AMERICORPS Reflections

Reflections on a Year of National Service

~April 2012~

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


Laura Ingalls

They say patience is a virtue, right? Well, sometimes I struggle with patience. I’m aware of this. But on Friday, during one of our AmeriCorps trainings, a question was asked about how each of us evaluates our attitudes and what tools we use to figure out if it’s where it should be. I never really thought about the various ways our attitudes can be checked, and instead, I just reflected on my day’s attitude after work each day.

One teammate suggested another way, which, in hindsight, is one of those “duh!” things. Rather than just looking inward to determine where your attitude is at, we should be looking outward at those around us. In a school setting, students are most often the harshest critics. They don’t mean to be, but their filters aren’t always fully developed. What I mean to say is that students are almost like reality mirrors. In regards to attitude, it’s easy to know what disposition you’re giving off because that’s exactly what you’ll get back from your students.

This isn’t always true, of course. Sometimes a student will have an off day and her/his attitude is no reflection of anything or anyone. However, for the most part, a student will respond with the same tone as s/he is being spoken to. sign-attitude changes everything

It’s hard to remember this in the moment, when you have a first-grader refusing to read or a kindergartener that won’t sit still, but it’s important to always be aware of what you’re projecting. I know I struggle with this, and even with this newly gleamed knowledge, I will still struggle with this.

But I feel better in knowing that I have another tool in my communication toolbox, and by always reflecting on the disposition I think I have and on the attitude I’m getting from students, I should be able to become more patient and model that patience for students who may struggle with it, too. Perhaps, someday, we’ll all be virtuous.


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.


Corporation for National and Community Service

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