I recently passed a significant personal milestone in my VISTA service: I am one-third of the way through my first year. While this may seem like an arbitrary measurement, it quantifies my introduction and adjustment to a new way of life and thinking.
At the beginning of April I moved from Brooklyn, New York to Ajo, Arizona to become an Americorps VISTA volunteer with the Arizona Community Foundation and International Sonoran Desert Alliance. The two places could not have been further apart and it has been a huge adjustment.
When I first began working on my projects, I was unsure that I was in the right place; unsure about my decision to embark on my service. The work I was doing seemed so far from the people I was supposed to be helping and was so far from what I was comfortable with or knew anything about.
However, I kept reminding myself what VISTAs do: "Capacity, Capacity, Capacity." Our mission is to build the capacity of an organization to continue its work and grow. As the weeks passed, I understood how valuable my work was to the well-being, progress and sustainability of ISDA and that I was now part of carrying out there important mission.
Part of that mission is to engage the community in taking ownership of their own towns, region and well-being by encouraging responsibility. Interestingly, this is just what has happened to me. The work that had once seemed so foreign and so overwhelming to solve, had been given to me with trust and guidance to make it my own and I have. I guess you could say I have become empowered to empower others. These realizations are something so cliche that I would never have imagined myself saying them at anytime in my life. But they are true statements and I have no holds blurting them out to everyone now........because I believe in what I am doing!
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a AmeriCorps VISTA, click HERE!