“What do you think will be the most important thing(s) you will take away from your year of service?”
As we are approximately half way through our years of service (which is crazy to think about!), I can relatively easily reflect on the many important things I have gained and will continue to gain throughout this year.
To begin, as with all of the other RYY fellows and other AmeriCorps VISTAs, I will take away many positive things from the overall VISTA experience. Somehow we are all able to live on a small stipend, explain to others what we do and why we are here, continue to be passionate about why we became involved in an AmeriCorps program, and remain true to ourselves and the direction we are going in our lives. That in itself is an extremely important thing I will take away from my year of service.
More specific to my position, though, I will take away further knowledge and understanding of the administration and policy in public education, specifically in the RCSD. I have learned so much about this organization thus far and am interested in what else I will learn during the second half of my service.
In addition, working with many different types of people with different personalities, work styles, etc… has been a learning experience in itself. In past jobs & experiences, I have worked with small groups of like-minded individuals (when I was a tutor I worked with others who wanted to help students, when I was a camp counselor I worked with others who enjoyed working with children and were outgoing leaders, as a student I worked with other students with passions similar to my own). In this position, I work with many different types of people. Teachers, administrators, community partners, etc… who have their own goals and focus. Therefore, I need to fit the needs of my program into theirs. This has been an interesting process thus far, because instead of working with people who have the same ideas and goals, I am working with people who have their own agendas. This has also been a great learning process and I have gained stronger communication and people skills.
Finally, I have gained a greater understanding of the importance of health and wellness for students and the relationship between overall student health and academic achievement. This is a topic that many people do not necessarily think of as important. A wealth of research exists, though, regarding he strong relationship between the two. When one thinks of students, they usually think of learning math, ELA, science, etc… but without a healthy lifestyle, it is extremely difficult to begin to learn. Furthermore, without a basis in health education, it is difficult to make decisions for oneself regarding one’s overall health. I am excited to continue to share this information and the importance of health and wellness with those that I work with in the future.
I look forward to reflecting on this question again after the second half of my year of service regarding the other important things I will take away from this year.