In August 2014, I completed my first successful year of AmeriCorps VISTA.There I served as the Marketing and Multicultural Outreach Coordinator for Adult Basic Education (ABE) in my home state of Minnesota. This year opened my eyes to many bitter realities faced daily by those affected by poverty. I had studied many of these issues at length throughout my time in University, but that did little to grow my understanding of the true, human experience behind it. I still have a monumental amount left to learn. I also witnessed the incredible resilience of my community, which I believe was essential for sparking my passion for public service.
Following my year at ABE, I moved to Seattle to become a VISTA Leader with the RSN. The experiences of a VISTA Leader are definitely very different than those of a VISTA. As a VL, I have seen the work done by the entire cohort from a unique angle. I have seen a wide range of conflicts and barriers that can arise in service organizations and have grown to more thoroughly understand why some mechanisms move quickly while others seem to face a constant uphill battle. VISTA Leadership has certainly given me more insight into the inner workings of non-profit organizations, big and small.
It has been exciting and inspiring to watch the progress of so many amazing projects. To say that this year has been eye-opening would be an understatement. In the end, I believe that the combination of my VISTA project and my year as a VISTA Leader ended up being the perfect education I needed to prepare me for the career that follows.