My year as an Americorps VISTA has been a truly life changing experience. I have spent most of my life seeing things in society that needed to be changed or improved, but never feeling as though I had the tools or wherewithal to do so. For the first time I feel as though I have a voice and can actually take actions that will provide visible results. I’ve become more self-reliant and learned how to take the lead on projects rather than waiting for someone to tell me what to do.
The two activities that have probably had the greatest influence on me are enrolling people into the plan and the creation of the pediatric reading program. When enrolling people, I was able to see and speak to the people I wanted to help. Poverty suddenly had a face and a voice. Creating the volunteer program showed me that it was possible for me to take an active role in improving the living conditions of those living around me.