What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program?
Prior to AmeriCorps, I was enrolled in undergrad at Columbia College Chicago as an International Arts Management major. I also taught web marketing and entrepreneurship in the context of the needs and priorities of young people as a youth consultant.
Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Member?
I applied for AmeriCorps because it was the challenge I needed to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I have declared this year of service as my year of positive transformation and growth. With clenching onto this truth it allows me room for my creative energy to surface in civic engagement and community outreach. I gain a better understanding of myself and others when I am open to listening. This is what I felt guided to do prior to applying. Someone suggested this program during my transition out of school and into the Chicagoland community. I am convinced at my core that coincidence does not exist because of this experience.
What Neighborhood Network community are you placed with?
Bronzeville also known as the Black Metropolis.
What is your role as an AmeriCorps Member?
My key responsibilities: Assist my supervisor with the Greater Bronzeville Neighborhood Network by:
1. Participating in relevant meetings, seminars, and trainings related to GBNN and UWMC Neighborhood Network initiative.
2. Collaborating with the GBNN in the development and implementation of Neighborhood plans affecting workforce development, counseling, parenting, mentoring, and advocacy in Bronzeville.
3. Following up with partners for necessary materials needed to support the GBNN
4. After school homework help desk for grades K 5 – 8th grade
5.Take meeting minute notes to capture the workforce development committee and other subcommittees as created
6. Collecting and analyzing data sent from the GBNN stakeholders
7. Allowing myself to be human and vulnerable with the individuals I work with because that allows for the work to be done honestly and effectively.
What have you learned in your role?
My learning is ongoing. At Columbia, they emphasize the importance of networking. Being in Bronzeville, I am reassured that this is vital. Humans. The variety of shades, personalities, and actions have magnified my purpose. I am learning I am most effective and creative when I am purposefully surrounding myself with passionate individuals. I need new scenery, new energy, or a new perspective to delve deep. I am learning when to ask for help. I am learning to be intentional and clear about everything I do. I am learning to “manage up”. I have learned each moment is a teachable moment. Falling short is perspective and taking advantage of those teachable moments can save you a lot of internalizing emotions.
What do you want individuals to know about your Neighborhood Network community?
Bright Star Community Outreach is seasoned with talent, passionate, and committed individuals who are highly skilled and know a lot about a lot. BSCO reminds me of this analogy I once read, “A choral or musical ensemble like a choir or orchestra. Different members of the team contribute different things that add up to something better than the individual contributions of each member. Singing bass usually doesn’t sound too good by itself, but it enhances the music made by the sopranos or tenors. A bass, almost never has the melody but they add something to everyone else’s singing. Everyone is singing different notes. When they do this in the proper order, on the same measure, the outcome is amazing.”
What do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?
I am being intentional about finishing up my last two years at Columbia College Chicago. I also intend to continue to fill the tall stilts of my truth, purpose, and journey in this life. I am hopeful for my future professional endeavors and my career as an international, renowned business woman! I am excited for who I am becoming. I appreciate those in my network who support my efforts and I hope to keep those individuals close for this road less traveled and the next.