Ready To Learn Providence
Enthusiastic Maria Isabel wants to be a professional social worker. Nowadays she is volunteering as a Ready to Learn AmeriCorps member at Brown Fox Point.
“Working as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Ready to Learn is an experience for me,” she says. “I get a sense of fulfillment out of it.”
Maria enjoys working with children but she has a different plan for herself. “I want to be a social worker. Working with children gives me an opportunity to meet with their parents and see deep into the community’s situation. I want to play my role in social development, and working in the field of early childhood development is also a way to do it.
“My own childhood reminds me that children face lots of challenges,” she continues. “When my family moved to the United States, I was 12 years old. At that time, I found that everything was new for me. I was a tough kid. I refused to learn English and I wanted to go back to Dominican Republic, but then I learned how to overcome it and how to accept the new situation and move on.
“With my personal experiences, I understand about the challenges that a child faces in his or her development; especially when at an early stage everything is new and strange.” As a teacher Maria not only plays a motivational role, but also tries to connect children with nature. “We have developed very good teaching techniques, but sometimes I feel that in our modern society we are drifting away from nature. When I am with children I try to find ways to connect them with it.
“Teaching can be a challenging job but before doing it I didn’t realize that I was going to love it this much. This is the beauty of AmeriCorps program. At Ready to Learn we get lots of professional and personal development trainings. You get a chance to use this knowledge in the field and Ready to learn always encourages us to connect our teaching job with the work we want to do in our life. I love my program because it helps you to find a dream and it give you a way to reach it.” (PP)
Youth In Action VISTA
Serving as a Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator at Youth In Action (YIA) over the past year has been an awesome experience. Youth In Action works in the Providence community to help grow youth as community leaders. Over the past year I have built a custom Wordpress website for Youth In Action, produced promotional materials and videos, program documents, designed logos, newsletters, and flyers for YIA and other partner organizations, and worked on several grants. The most rewarding part of this work is that these efforts will have a lasting impact for YIA’s programming.
I’m glad that I was able to have this experience, because I will be able to use the skills I have gained at YIA for the rest of my life. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about HTML, CSS, Wordpress and other web development tools. I practice using Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Final Cut, Aperture and other digital production programs weekly, enhancing the knowledge of these programs that I already had. I have been able to work with several partners in the production of digital marketing assets. I have helped YIA improve their online engagement and visibility and helped document all of the awesome work that happens here.
The best part about this whole experience, I think, is that I have been afforded the opportunity to work in a field that I believe in, doing things that I enjoy doing. The for-profit world is relatively saturated with designers and people that need designers, but what good does that do us as a community? The difficult thing for designers is they often design for people motivated by profit, and not reasons that come from their heart. I have been able to serve in this way over the past year, and it has been a great experience.
College Advising Corps at Brown 2014-2015
This year has been an incredible growing experience for me. Since August I've served as a College Adviser with the College Advising Corps at Brown University and I'm truly thankful I've been given this opportunity. I've leaned more about the CommonApp, FAFSAs, and SATs than I ever imagined. More importantly I've learned about myself, and I've made significant connections with students. I have been able to take the knowledge I learned during training and apply that at Hope High School instantly. I've given students a friend, a knowledgeable ally, and an example of someone who has made it. I've had heart to hearts with some students and I've had others say they look up to me.
Being an AmeriCorps member has been humbling and confidence-boosting simultaneously. My wage keeps my ego at bay, while my abilities on the job has made me feel capable of anything. I hope next year at Hope High School can be an even better experience for the students and myself. I'm honored to work with these talented, hilarious, creative, and intelligent young people, and I've grown because of them.
Providence Children's Museum 2014-2015
I serve as a member of Providence Children’s Museum MuseumCorps, assigned to the Southside Boys & Girls Club (BGC) after-school program. Many privileges accompany this position, such as the opportunity to develop activities rich in math and science; getting to know amazing kids; and learning from experts. There are also many rewards. Every afternoon when we walk into the Southside BGC, our spirits are renewed and we are reminded why we serve; nothing revitalizes a tired mind and removes the worries from the forefront of the mind like the smiles and boundless energy of a child. The children greet the MuseumCorps team with wide smiles, enthusiasm, and cries of “Am I coming to Museum Club today?” The children are eager to learn, explore, and play. In turn, this prompts our team to create innovative, fun lessons for the children to engage in.
Also, our team transformed the Museum Club space at Southside BGC with more than just paint and a spit-shine. We managed to create a space the children could claim as their own. They feel comfortable to talk, discuss, learn, and even make mistakes there. When given a choice, the children choose to come to the Museum Club rather than go to the Games or Computer Rooms. In caring and respecting the space, the children help us keep the room neat and clean, even at times fighting over who gets to run the vacuum.
Overall, the Museum Club at the Southside Boys & Girls Club fosters life long learners and bolsters each child’s problem solving toolbox.