Thinking back to how you felt at the end of PSO have your perceptions about what it means to be a VISTA changed? If so – how (and why!)?
Well, at the end of PSO I obviously had no real idea of what it would be like serving as a VISTA. I knew that being a VISTA means I am helping alleviate poverty in some way, I knew that being an RYY Fellow means I am specifically helping poverty-affected youth, I knew since I would be in Rochester it would be urban youth. I knew from talking with Kristina, the 2nd year Fellow at Writers & Books, and with Sally, my supervisor, that a lot of what I would be doing is grant writing and developing new ways of reaching the urban youth of Rochester with programming that would influence them in a positive way.
I wouldn’t say that those perceptions were wrong, they are pretty dead-on. I guess what I didn’t realize was the extent to which I would assimilate into my site and become a part of the non-VISTA staff. Although I am serving with the ideals of a VISTA, I’m not really doing anything that separates me from the other staff members. I enjoy being an addition to Writers & Books as a staff member and feel really fortunate to not have to face the distinction between myself and the other staff members or feel segregated in any way.
I’m not saying I thought that I would be ostracized or anything (though I do love ostriches), I’m just happy to see myself as part of the Writers & Books unit rather than a sore thumb.
Ostrich… I mean, Anait