Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fatima Shaikh's Story

Hello again AmeriStories fans!  Here is Fatima Shaikh's story, to warm your heart on this cold December day.  Enjoy!

Location before serving in AmeriCrops: Athens, Ohio

Where are you serving now: Green Gables Elementary

What did your family and friends think about your service? What was the initial reaction?

They were very proud of me, and happy that I was going to be achieving my goals.  I had told my mom that I wanted to do AmeriCorps since high school, and she was proud that I would be helping out a community. My family works at the local farmers market. They are very involved in their community thus they are happy that I would be helping out another community.

How have you changed since joining AmeriCorps?

I have changed in so many ways. When I first came to service I knew that I needed to change some things about myself.  I had just been working regular jobs for the past ten years of my life. I didn’t feel fulfilled by just working and not making a change for the better. Two years ago I had applied for several AmeriCorps jobs. Federal way was the first AmeriCorps [position] to call me back. I had really liked what I had read about the program. And most importantly that they were helping struggling students
and cleaning up the community. As a struggling student myself I know how important it is not to let those children fall through the cracks. I believe that the children are the foundations to our future. During my years of service I have grown into a morehumane person. It is not only important for me to change for myself but it is important to be that better person so that others around me may find a change for themselves as well. I feel that I can always learn every chance I get, and I will still continue to learn and grow whereever my path will take me.
more after the jump!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

David Pixton's Story!

Howdy, Ya'll! Happy almost Thanksgiving to all you non-Canadians (bc theirs is in October.  Knowledge!)  While you are digging through your closets to find your stretchiest, most feast-appropriate pants, take a moment and read David Pixton's story. Bon Apetit!

Where were you before AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: I was in Pendleton, OR working for a clinical laboratory. Everything that comes out of a human, we tested.

How did you hear about AmeriCorps? Why did you decide to apply?
David Pixton: I wasn’t too happy doing what I was doing. It was interesting stuff because I really like science, but it wasn’t something that I wanted to do. I was stuck in the lab all night by myself. I surfed on the internet for things that I could do. I found this program and it sounded really fun and like something I could do. I applied, and was interviewed, and got the job. I only applied for the education type positions because I wanted to work with kids. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a teacher at that point, but now I do know. I think being a teacher is where I can best serve the kids and most serve myself.

What called you about AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: When I applied, the only background in AmeriCorps that I had was from when I was a kid in elementary school in Washington. I remember working with an AmeriCorps member for most of the day on my multiplication facts. I remember we stopped working, because of a lack of time, on the 8s multiplication facts. And to this day, I still have problems with the facts past 8.

How have you changed since joining AmeriCorps?
David Pixton: I’ve become a better leader. I never had to lead before quite to this degree. And now, I’m responsible for all of these kids. Even though I’m not a teacher, I’m still responsible for the kids in my AVID tutorial. It’s a weight, but it’s rewarding because I get to lead them and help push them in all these m

directions. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but it is a cool feeling.

more after the jump!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Tues double feature!

In honor of this important day in the democracy of ours, here are TWO stories.  The first is from the lovely Caitlin Kreick, and the second from the illustrious Ian Baldwin.  Enjoy!!

What were you doing before AmeriCorps? Why did you decide to serve?
Caitlin Kreick: I worked for AmeriCorps once before through Jumpstart. Applied to see if I really did want to teach. I came here hoping that it would confirm or deny if I do actually want to go into teaching and it did help confirm that I do want to teach.

What did your friends and family think when you decided to serve?

Caitlin Kreick: They had been watching me do service projects since I was in high school. So at first, my parents were a little in shock about what I was doing and who I was with, but I kept doing it. I just kept doing it, I just kept serving. I was stubborn and they didn’t like it, I was stubborn.

When I quit my job and decided to serve they kind of understood. And then when I came out here my mom was the person who spoke up and my dad was like, “You’re going 3,000 miles away to a place you’ve never been to help people you’ve never met or would never meet”, and my mom was just like, “Well, let her go,” and she was kind of my champion the whole time.
Earlier in the year we were encouraged to text someone who helped us get here and text them to know that you’re thankful, so I texted my dad. Because my parents really helped me out financially to help me get here so I said, “thanks. you made this possible.” My dad’s response back to that was, “you’re the only one in the family who ever tries to give back and I’m glad I can help you out with that.”

more after the jump!
It didn’t surprise me that this was hard. I’ve always known, empirically and intellectually, that this is what people had to do because I’ve served those people before. I never truly experienced it in a way that wasn’t truly by choice. It’s affected my life, but I think in a positive way because i’ve actually now experienced the things that I rail against and I’m so frustrated that people don’t understand. I’m now personally scared when I turn on the T.V. and people are talking about cutting funds for food stamps. I’m the one like, “No! That’s just a bad idea, don’t do that! Oh god, oh god, don’t do that! That’s such a terrible idea.” I wouldn’t have been able to feel so connected to those sorts of things if I hadn’t been able to live them.


Name: Ian Baldwin
Location before AmeriCorps: Eugene, OR

Where are you serving now?
I serve at Federal Way High School. Federal Way is an incredibly inspiring school to work at, considering all the obstacles our students are overcoming on their road to success. One of the toughest things about working at Federal Way is seeing students failing because of “life circumstances” that are interfering with their ability to stay focused on school. As a tutor, it is empowering to know that I have a significant effect on my students lives, and that I can help be a bridge from their past to their future.
What do you family and friends think of your service? Initial reactions?
One of the challenges AmeriCorps faces is that no one understands what it does. I know I certainly didn’t when I began my service, and my friends and family still don’t know what it does. This either has to do with a lack of interest by the public in service, or a lack of public advertising on the part of AmeriCorps to get the word out about all the great programs we have to offer volunteers.

How have you changed?
I am a lot more punctual and professional. Before coming to AmeriCorps, I had worked in the field of education for four years as a tutor and debate coach. As a result, I had a hand up in knowing strategies for tutoring students of different ages and backgrounds. What I wasn’t prepared for, however is just how demanding the AmeriCorps workload can become at times. Between volunteer recruitment, documentation and tutoring, things can get a bit stressful. Now, I feel that I am more able to navigate these obstacles and balance different responsibilities.
What did you think service was going to be like?
I actually expected it to be quite similar to what it was. However, for me that was because I had already been an academic tutor for many years, and had a good understanding of what the job entailed.
What does national service mean to you?
To me, national service means giving back to a country that has given you everything. Without the services and security provided by our country, we wouldn’t have ever been in a position to succeed in life. Giving back for one year is the least I could do.

What other job possibilities were you considering before AmeriCorps?
Before joining AmeriCorps, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. AmeriCorps changed that. Now I recognize that many of the academic challenges we face can’t just be solved by having “good teachers” especially when it is difficult to attract good teachers to the profession due to salary. Instead, many of the changes we need will happen at a governmental level, in terms of increased funding for education, and a change in the way we market education to our students. I reject the idea that serving students can only happen by becoming a teacher.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Becca Rothkopf's Story!

Here is another illustrious write-in story penned by the incomparable Becca Rothkopf.  She hails from the snowy peaks of Colorado, and is a truly lovely person!  May she go on to great success and happiness.

Hello! My name is Becca Rothkopf. I’m from Denver, CO, and was living in northern Colorado (in Fort Collins, to be exact) before moving out to Washington for AmeriCorps. Right now I am wrapping up a year of service at Truman High School/Internet Academy. It has been an incredible, albeit challenging, experience for a number of reasons.

 Last year I served in AmeriCorps in the same city I went to college in. I was a full-time art instructor at an after-school program. That experience made me realize that service means being completely devoted to helping and caring for people and the world around us. Instead of focusing entirely on myself, like I had as a college student, my days were spent trying to provide a stable, safe, and educational environment for youth.
In that aspect, my experience this year was a similar one, but I also had the challenge of living in a part of the country that was completely unfamiliar to me. I literally knew nobody in the state of Washington when I packed up my car and headed northwest.

 Additionally, I had no idea what to expect when I walked in for our first day of AmeriCorps training. I knew I was going to be tutoring students, but I didn’t know what school I would be at or what my other responsibilities would be. The only things I knew for sure were that the Washington scenery really did look like the Twilight films and the people in Seattle wore a lot of plaid.

 more after the jump!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Story-Adam Wooten!

Hey friends. I thought I'd get a jump on the week and get this post in early!  Although let's be real, there was only the slimmest of chances that I would post anything on a Tuesday.  But maybe I will, and I'm just trying to lure you into a state of complacency, only to (WHAM) surprise you with my promptness! That's how it's done, folks.  

Anyway, enough with the preamble!  Here's Adam Wooten's story.  It's totally good.

Also, he is the only person I've ever met from Oklahoma, and that's fun! Except for Curly from the musical Oklahoma!, who  I have met in my dreams.

How have you changed since coming to AmeriCorps?

There are things that I knew I could do, that it’s forced me to have to do. Like talking in front of people and commanding a classroom. Doing this made me become comfortable in that atmosphere and now I have no fear about doing it in the future. Oh, and patience as well. ‘Cause, God, I was a very stubborn, impatient person and it’s taught me a lot about that. Laughs. I mean, being able to work with middle school kids and not strangle them on an everyday basis, is a testament to your patience. And learning better ways to deal with unruly kids besides just yelling at them. I don’t know, my dad was a big yeller--all I really knew was berating people.  I can’t fault him for it because that’s all he knew from growing up.  But,  [AmeriCorps] definitely taught me impulse control and patience.
more after the jump!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just Pictures!!

This here's a visual post.  The COVER of the collection we gave out to our team:

And the endpaper:
A preview of stories to come!
And, why not, here are the lil pictures of us, bigger!

 In case anyone is interested in my "process", this is what a drawing looks like when I scan it in:

And this here's what it's like when I'm done.  Thanks, that one class on computer art I took 3 years ago!

Just Wanted to say Hey...

And remind everyone, we are always taking submissions for new stories (self-written or interviews)--second year FWPS members and new faces, that's a hint for all of ya'll.  Check out posts tagged "guidelines".  And you know I'm always looking for new beautiful faces to draw :)

And get ready for a MEGA post tonight.  It's happening.