What do you think will be the most important thing/things you will take away from your year of service?
After just four or so months at Biz Kid$, I find myself still learning something every day. The events of my days always leave me with something to think about. Though the results of my efforts may not always pan out just as I had hoped, I keep in mind that the work I am doing plays a significant role in creating meaningful programming for Rochester’s youth. To me, that notion is powerful and stays with me throughout the ups and downs of my year of service.
I’m learning to work differently than I ever have before, and finding what I enjoy and also dislike about my work environment. As a member of a team, I work closely with a Rochester AmeriCorps worker as well as a few others within the Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS) that work in other locations. I often find myself being the liaison between team members and the gatekeeper of information, coordinating schedules, events, and workflow. This is a new role for me, and one that I was initially intimidated by. However, I have grown to function well with this responsibility. I’m learning to work with people who have different working styles and personalities, hold effective meetings, and take concepts and actually put them into action. Transitioning to this project-oriented way of working has been both rewarding and challenging.
Working alongside inner city youth has also been eye-opening. I came into this position laden with my own misunderstandings and assumptions, and I find them to be challenged daily. When I talk with others unfamiliar with my program, I find I am more confident in my ability to advocate for not only my program, but DRYS, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Rochester youth in general. The levels of energy, creativity, and drive of the youth I work with are truly exceptional. They are a reminder to me that, even in a society often painted as losing its humanity, if we open our eyes we just might see a very different picture.
At our project-wide meeting, Malik Evans said something along the lines of: we all operate and exist in a certain space. And within that space we have a great deal of power to influence others, sometimes by simply holding a door open for someone, other times by doing something much more profound. Wherever I go, I like to think that I have the opportunity to make differences, big and small, in others’ lives. For the remainder of my time at Biz Kid$ and with whatever future endeavors I embark on, I hope to be doing just that.
While the thought of this year ending in the not so distant future is daunting and depressing, I know I will have learned more than I could imagine, both about myself as a professional and as a young adult still trying to figure this life out.