Story last updated at 3/13/2013 - 2:06 pm
Two and half years ago, I arrived in Juneau on a late evening night flight in the pouring rain to intern for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Armed with a single suitcase, a city map, and a faltering sense of adventure, I set out to learn more about who I was and who I would become. In a city in which I knew almost nothing about and absolutely no one, Juneau surprisingly felt incredibly like home in only a few short weeks. The city and its wonderful residents had welcomed me with open arms, helping me transition, find new friends, and get involved in several communities groups and activities.
In an effort to give back to a community that had so willingly welcomed me, I decided to spend a year in service as a SAGA AmeriCorps member for United Way of Southeast Alaska. To say my term of service had an impact on me would be an understatement. During my term of service, I was able to not only to give back to the community, but also learn important lessons and hone research and grant writing skills that would otherwise have taken years in a professional or academic setting. I have been so touched by the passionate, caring, and intertwined Juneau community and seen firsthand how powerful caring and collaboration can be among regional non-profit organizations. As an AmeriCorps member, I was forced out my comfort zone and pushed to create positive changes and results in an effort to strengthen lives and improve the health, education, and income stability of communities in Southeast Alaska. Additionally, my term of service has given me many intangible benefits, and I know that the experience will continue to benefit me as I continue to work in the Juneau community.
In short, my year of service as an AmeriCorps has strengthened both my present and future self. Following my year of service as a SAGA AmeriCorps member, I accepted a job with United Way of Southeast Alaska as the current resource development director. Additionally, I was accepted into an online Masters of Library Science program through the University of Maryland in which I am now in my second semester.
Today, I service as the site supervisor for our current AmeriCorps member. Over the last few months, I have enjoyed watching our AmeriCorps member tackle similar difficult situations while growing personally and professionally. For the prospective of both a past AmeriCorps member and current site supervisor, I can safely say that AmeriCorps inspires learning, builds future community leaders, and truly strengthens the communities in which its members serve.