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A Year of Service: How Far I’ve Come

August 30, 2010

By Kyle F.

Washington DC is a city of networking, business, politics, and power. I came to this city as a twenty-two year old graduate of Ball State University with a degree in elementary education and an interest in community service. My previous job involved teaching fourth graders long division, adverbs, and Indiana history. I had fifteen dollars in my bank account, three boxes of clothes, and no vehicle. I moved into my cousin’s spare bedroom, introduced myself to the city, and wondered if leaving my friends and family in Indiana was the right choice. To say that I’ve come a long way this past year is an understatement. For the past year I have served as an AmeriCorps *VISTA.

In the summer of 2009 I began to fear I would not find a teaching job. Applications were not receiving responses, Teacher Fairs were crowded with hundreds of applicants, and school districts were terminating multiple teaching positions. The slow economy was bleeding a profession that was once thought to be safe. I concluded it was time find a new way to use my degree. On a whim, I went to the AmeriCorps website to learn more about service; it seemed like a great way to continue teaching and writing. I filled out an online application and submitted it to sites in Phoenix, Columbus, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, and Washington DC. After a short period of waiting I got an interview and was hired by HandsOn Network in Washington DC. I officially had a job that would combine my desire to serve with my desire to teach.

For the past year my AmeriCorps position has allowed me to flex and grow my professional abilities. My work includes writing service-learning lesson plans, producing all-encompassing toolkits, creating social-networking resources, and indirectly reaching thousands of volunteers. The work I enjoy the most involves creating materials to utilize the power of youth in service. HandsOn Network has provided me the room to grow and apply my own ideas and concepts of service.

This is not Kyle F, but he was at this event!

Serving in Washington DC has also given me the opportunity to meet people in areas of nonprofit, service, and government. I’ve had the chance to meet U.S. Senators, attend an event with the First Lady, and speak with service leaders from around the country. Washington DC is a great city for young professionals – especially those in the area of nonprofit and government.

As I enter my final month with AmeriCorps *VISTA, I can’t help but stress the fact that this opportunity helped land me my next position. Immediately following my term with AmeriCorps, I will begin an internship with The White House. I am excited to see where this next leg in life will take me. I know I would not be here if I had not committed to AmeriCorps. I have come a long way this past year. A year ago I would have never imagined that I would be working in one of the most important places in the world. I am looking forward to continuing my service through AmeriCorps Alums for years to come. I will always encourage others to take the chance and join AmeriCorps.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jurden Alexander permalink
    August 30, 2010 1:26 pm

    few people ever, never ever get the chance to fulfill such a satisfying experience you have enjoyed being a volunteer….I experience included a year in Eastern Kentucky, Floyd County, Chicago, Ill, and San Francisco Bay Area….1965 – 1967!

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