Meet Our Americorps Members: Angelita Ruiz

Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Member?

I applied to be an AmeriCorps member because I had to take a year off from school. Last year I was uncertain about my career path and I saw the AmeriCorps Program as a good way to be productive with my time. AmeriCorps gave me the opportunity to turn my year off into a year of growth. The education grant was an added incentive for me to pursue this opportunity as well.

What Neighborhood Network community are you placed with?

Cicero, my site is Youth Crossroads

What is your role as an AmeriCorps Member?

Cicero is part of the newer cohort and working diligently to establish its foundation in the Cicero community. As a result, my role as an AmeriCorps member consists of collecting data from community events, assisting at community forums, and attending meetings.

What have you learned in your role?

I have learned that change and growth is a community effort. It is very important to have stakeholders involved in the process every step of the way because this is their community and they know what is lacking in the community. The community stakeholders also know what they can improve on and what areas they are doing well in. In the past six months, I have also learned a lot about myself. One of my goals for this year is to decide on a career path and I believe I am getting closer to figuring that out. I am getting to know myself, the type of environment and people I most enjoy working with.

What do you want individuals to know about your Neighborhood Network community?

There are a lot of people invested in this community and willing to volunteer to see that Cicero reach its fullest potential. I have noticed that there is a small group of passionate people making a difference but it takes community buy-in and resources which are harder to find.

What do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?

I was raised in Cicero and feel honored to be able to be a part of an initiative that’s focused on improving education in Cicero. Furthermore, I was educated by the public school system in Cicero. It is nice to know that educational disparities and challenges are being addressed. Having the opportunity to be engaged in the planning stages of this initiative is a great accomplishment.Through this experience I want to hone my public speaking skills and grow personally.

What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program?

Prior to the AmeriCorps program I was an undergraduate student at Augustana College and planning to transfer to UIC to pursue a Bachelors degree in psychology.

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