Hello again AmeriStories fans! Here is Fatima Shaikh's story, to warm your heart on this cold December day. Enjoy!
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!
What did you think service was going to be like? Was it what you expected?
I didn’t know what to expect because every job setting is different. In my mind service was doing a job where you are benefiting someone else. I knew that the Federal Way AmeriCorps would be all about serving the community and the people in it. I knew I had to find that passion in me and just bring it out. So I couldn’t really fully create this whole year of service in my mind. I needed to let the experiences and the people around me, shape what it was going to become. I was lucky enough to be part of this team, with amazing people and amazing trainings. With all this I was able to become the person that I am now. So I guess when it comes down to it you can expect so much out of something but you really need to build a road to guide yourself to the future.
Describe a moment when you were overwhelmed. What happened? How did you get past it?
It was in my first year of service, back in December, and the kids were on break. We had just made it three months and there were so many new changes that I was questioning myself. Have I served the students the best I could? At this time I was still pretty new to the school and was still building relationships with the students. There are so many new things that I had done before and I wanted to make sure I was doing things the best I could. I had two weeks to rethink a lot, and during that time I wasn’t as busy
as I usually am. This made me worry more because of all the free time that I had. So I looked back at those moments with in the past three months, and reevaluated what I needed to change.
Coming back in January there was a whole new attitude the students were putting out. I wasn’t sure if it was just the break that they had or the start of the new year. I had celebrated those successful moments with the students whether big, like passing a test, or small, like giving a smile. I kept those things in the
back of my mind and this gave me the encouragement to push through those hard times. I think being overwhelmed can be handled in so many different ways. I just needed to find a way to look at that situation and be optimistic about it.