Meet Our Americorps Members: Priya Uppuluri

Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Member?

I applied to be an AmeriCorps member because I heard about AmeriCorps through friends and I appreciated the focus on public service. In the past, I have had internships related directly to public service in Chicago and other places in the U.S. Tasks that I have during my AmeriCorps term are tasks I have done in the past. I knew it would be a good fit for me during my year off before returning to further schooling. Joining AmeriCorps during my year off from school has helped me grow personally and work on the skill sets I want to increase. My site hands me new opportunities and experiences I would not get had I not applied to be an AmeriCorps member, and I am lucky I get to experience those opportunities.

What Neighborhood Network community are you placed in?

I am placed in Evanston working with Evanston Cradle2Career and Family Focus Evanston

What is your role as an AmeriCorps Member?

As an AmeriCorps member, I have multiple roles. Those being: attending meetings with Cradle2Career, assisting in the after school youth program at Family Focus during the academic year by helping with homework and tutoring and leading lessons and discussions with the kids. I specifically work with a classroom of kids in grades ranging from 3rd-5th. I occasionally work with the middle school classroom as well. During the school year I was assisting 3 Northwestern undergraduate students with their capstone research and data project which was focusing mainly on Family Focus and those who use Family Focus as a resource. I also helped pilot adult computer classes at Family Focus. These classes are in 8 week sessions and teach computer basics skills. During the summer I have been heavily involved in the 7 week summer camp session. I have been teaching 2 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) sessions, and a photography 101 lesson for the 3rd-5th graders.

What have you learned in your role?

In my role, I have increased my skills for patience and persistence by working with kids every day. I’ve also learned how to talk to kids and build relationships with the kids. I have also learned what issues are discussed during meetings at non-profits focusing on youth and family services. I have also learned how to lesson plan and conduct productive lessons. Most importantly, I have learned leadership skills and proper communication and public speaking skills.

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

I think people make assumptions about Evanston, and their assumptions aren’t always correct. There are issues in Evanston that are prevalent throughout Chicago. With that said, housing inequality and education inequalities are common issues brought up during meetings held at my Neighborhood Network.

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

During my year of service I hope to accomplish increasing my skills in networking and professionalism overall. I am lucky that I am constantly meeting new people and networking with others who may be able to give me advice on career paths that may be best suited for me. Along with that, I hope to accomplish growth in my leadership skills and taking on more responsibilities at work and in my personal life. Mainly during this year of service, I hope to accomplish a feeling of finally understanding what I want to do with my future goals and how to approach those goals as best as possible. I want to focus on my personal growth overall; emotionally and mentally. I am faced with new challenges every day at my site and I am always trying to stay positive and figure out the best way to handle the challenges. This is something I want to get better at.

What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program?

Prior to the AmeriCorps program, I was preparing for further professional school (law school and/or graduate school). Along with that, I had internships with the Attorney General’s Office and with refugee youth at RefugeeOne. I was also planning out my future goals and trying to figure out best steps to get there.

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