On February 4, 2008 when I was 22 years old I got on a plane to fly to Denver, CO to start my term of service in AmeriCorps. If you aren’t fimiliar, AmeriCorps is a national service program that I often refer to as the domestic version of the PeaceCorps. There are many programs that fall under the AmeriCorps umbrella (one of the more popular programs is Teach for America) and I served in the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) which is a team based program for people between the ages of 18-24. AmeriCorps NCCC provided me with amazing experiences and life lessons that I continue to use today as an educator.
In May 2012 I was asked by the AmeriCorps Alums blog to write and reflect about my experience. The projects I completed in AmeriCorps NCCC helped to reinforce my passion to work in the education field:
I loved my projects as a Corps Member and found them extremely fulfilling. In Slidell, LA my team and I worked as teachers’ aids in schools. In Denver, CO I was a Crew Leader in the Summer of Service program and worked with at-risk youth in the area completing community service projects. These education projects helped to reassure my career goals.
After leaving AmeriCorps I worked as a cross country coach, permanent substitute teacher, a technology trainer for higher education, a high school classroom teacher, and now as an K-12 educational technology specialist. All of these careers exposed me to different aspects of education and helped to inform my current position as an educational technology specialist.
In the article I also discussed one of more difficult projects in Houston, TX and how those skills still support my work today:
Almost all the NCCC teams from my campus were sent to Texas first round to work with FEMA in the immediate recovery effort from Hurricane Ike. My team was assigned to access the needs of a small county just east of Houston. I was in charge of creating everything from community outreach and advertising our presence, to creating surveys for assessment of homes and deciding which areas to begin canvasing. It was an extremely demanding project, but my team stepped up to the challenge and we were able to lay the groundwork for accessing the needs of the county.
During this project I was a team leader and managed a group of ten 18-24 year olds. The hours and demands of that project in particular taught me the importance of flexibility, delegation, and time management. Often there were competing project tasks and I needed to utilize the strengths of each of my team members to complete them all. As an educational technology specialist I work with a variety of groups on different district level initiatives and utilize the same skills I developed in AmeriCorps.
My experiences in AmeriCorps has helped to prepare me for diverse positions I have had in the education field over the past 10+ years.