Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Melissa Ettman's Story

Hello readers!

Please enjoy these words of wisdom from our very own Melissa Ettman. Melissa joined AmeriCorps after graduating from college and then biking across the country. Yes, she biked across the country and even built houses while she was at it! Needless to say, Melissa is an excellent service-minded woman who is happy to share her experiences with us. Enjoy!
Q. Why did you join AmeriCorps?

"I Just graduated from Seattle University and instead of attending commencement, I thought I would bike across the country to raise money and awareness for affordable housing”
Christina, “pause! BRB” (leaves the interview space)
Melissa, “just go!” … Melissa then shifts her body to face the computer where she is being recorded and starts to talk intently into the camera “So, I was biking across the country raising money for affordable housing and I was like ‘well, so I survived graduation, now what am I gonna do?’ so, let me tell you a story - ”

Christina comes back and finds Melissa secretly explaining her story to the camera. They laugh and get back into the interview

“I was trying to figure out the next step in my life. I didn’t really have a plan and I hoped to have the time while I biked across the country. I thought surely I would have the clarity to decide what I would do next. Well, that didn’t happen. I was too busy trying to breathe and climb up hills. And along the way I decided AmeriCorps was a good next step for me because whatever I do I want it to have purpose. So looking through all the options with what AmeriCorps has to offer -no matter what- it always comes back to the greater good. I applied to our AmeriCorps team, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club, etc. There are so many different ways you can take AmeriCorps and I liked that I could cast a wide net because I’m not just one thing and there are so many options and I believe in the mission of AmeriCorps and the ability of public service and that it can create real changes even if that’s just inspiring one person. Fortunately, I have the support of my family who are the ones who instilled that in me. They understand service, which makes it so much easier. Now I realize that this is a good stepping-stone to figure out what I’m going to do."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kerry George's Story

Our next story is from a woman named Kerry George. Kerry grew up in Iowa, but went to college in Minnesota, where she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the first time. A year later, she served a second term (!) in Federal Way, Washington with the Federal Way Public Schools. Here's a snippet:

Q: Has your service here in Federal Way been different than you expected it to be?

I think since I had the experience before, it hasn’t been super different than I expected… I definitely adjusted to the living stipend and…it was similar kinds of work.

Q: What about your first service? What that different than you expected?

Not really! Laughs. No, not really. I think it was what I wanted…it was kind of what I had envisioned for myself out of college…. Something that I liked about my first year of service, that I thought was really notable about it being AmeriCorps, is that right away I was able to do so many different things, that I had no experience in because it was AmeriCorps and it was technically volunteering. So they let me teach a Pre-K class even though I had no real experience with small children, and teach ELL - and I had no experience with that! And I thought it was really awesome how I could get experience in different areas without having any before. And that was a really good gateway in to whatever else I want to do.

Click here to read more of her story.

First Set of Interviews!

Hello again!

Well, it finally happened: our first interview day has come and gone--and it was lovely!  Christina and Brittany were well situated in private classrooms, with Sky roving between them, drawing pictures.  Our interviewees were more than accommodating, providing excellent and surprising answers to our questions.  Go team, go!

More stories to come, y'all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Carl Hinton's Story

Allow me to introduce, Carl Hinton.

Carl joined AmeriCorps and moved to Morton, WA two years ago, never anticipating he would stay longer than one year. Since joining AmeriCorps he has made lasting relationships with Morton's residents, students, and his AmeriCorps teammates. Here is a clip from his interview:

So how have you changed since joining AmeriCorps?

Thinks. How have I changed? That’s a tough question, I don’t really know. Laughs. I guess I’ve become more aware of what the US has to offer. I suppose I grew up in sort of a bubble, and especially after going to a liberal arts college, where you are surrounded by like-minded people, coming to rural Washington allowed me to see that there’s a lot of different ideas people out there. And being able to work with them has opened my mind a lot. Um, I’ve guess I’ve become more patient as well. Working with kids who don’t want to do their work can be grating on the ego at times. Laughs. Like, you feel you’re good at your job, but then they’re not doing anything! So you’re obviously not good at your job. I’ve had to come to terms with that at times. It’s made me more creative and patient in my work.

Click here to read more from his interview.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Elizabeth Flamm's Story

Hello All!

And excerpt of our interview with the incomparable Elizabeth Flamm!  This lady, a grad of the University of Maryland, is serving her second AmeriCorps year in the small mountain town of Morton, Washington. Check it out:

So, what does National Service mean to you? Why'd  you choose to be apart of national service?

I didn't choose to do national service for the idealistic reason.  I chose to do National Service because I want to do the Peace Corps, and I need to be qualified-- so I chose to do AmeriCorps.

But the same could be true for…I could answer the question in regards to why I volunteered before, why I thought Peace Corps was important. I think…when you're born into privilege, it's very little to do with you, it's just luck and and circumstance that you happen to have a good public school and you happen to have parents who were supportive.  And I think it's an obligation you have at some point to try and make the world a bit more fair… in terms of resources or wealth or services.