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My Inspiration: Champions of Change at the White House

September 21, 2012

Today’s post originally appeared on September 16, 2012 on RyanWilcox.org

Morgan Tracey at the White House. (Image Credit: Morgan Tracey)

This is a guest post by Morgan Tracey. Morgan is an AmeriCorps Alum, lawyer and 2014 Olympic hopeful. She was recently honored at the White House as a Champion of Change. Find her website here.

Inspiration comes in many forms. When I began training for the Winter Olympics in the sport of skeleton, I was inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of the talented athletes around me

Olympic Inspiration

Every day I walk the halls of the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, admiring the athletes with whom I train. I’ve watched them overcome setbacks and injury, while sacrificing everything for a chance to represent their country in the Olympic Games.

I never thought I would meet a more inspirational group of people, until I attended the Champions of Change event at the White House in honor of AmeriCorps alumni.

As an athlete and Olympic hopeful, I’m acutely aware of the number of days leading to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. I was hesitant to miss a single workout, as each day of training is important. While looking through an old AmeriCorps photo album, I realized that if the other invitees were anything like my AmeriCorps NCCC teammates, the trip would be worthwhile.

Meeting Champions of Change

Morgan is training to compete in the 2014 Olympic Games. (Image credit: Morgan Tracey)

I was unsure what to expect when I arrived at the White House. As I stood before the gates and introduced myself to each attendee, I knew I had made the right decision. After a brief meet and greet, we spent the rest of the morning hearing from community leaders like Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The afternoon was devoted to the Champions of Change event.

The most enjoyable part of the day was the time I spent socializing with other alumni. Each had an inspiring story to share, from starting a non-profit for battered women to building homes for struggling families. I met people who mentored troubled youths, contributed to Teach for America and volunteered their time to Habitat for Humanity.

Every person I spoke with was the living embodiment of Chicken Soup for the Soul. They were making a difference in the lives of others in important ways.

Inspired to Serve

As I left Washington D.C., I thought about my own AmeriCorps experience. I realized that AmeriCorps was not just the most important period in my life, but in the lives of all the alumni I met. When I enlisted in 2003, I thought it was for 10 months. I’d get to volunteer, meet interesting people, travel the country and learn something about myself.

I didn’t realize it would be a life-changing experience, one I continue to learn from to this day. I would never have been inspired to become a wildland firefighter, attend law school, pass the bar or chase my Olympic dreams were it not for my AmeriCorps service. As I train for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 175 AmeriCorps alumni I met, who continue making a difference, will be my inspiration.

Morgan Tracey
Attorney at Law
United States Skeleton

Note: To learn more about Morgan and the other AmeriCorps Alums honored as Champions of Change, click here.

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