Well, well, well,… I am back again. Here to share my story and my BIG main idea. Forewarning, I have good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad: you’re going to have to hear a few more Americorps stories. The good news? I’m finally including my ESC experience, though the next blog will talk about ESC more in depth. Keep this in mind, everything mentioned in this, and previous blogs have a point. I just ask for patience. So.. is it okay for me continue? …. I must admit, I feel that your quiet responses are awkward and for the interest of the blogger community that you share your feedback so that I know if what I’m writing is effective.( I statements.. something I learned this year.) Any who, here we go!
So, I left off with NCCC in Schoharie County. After our time there we returned to Dundalk for a week of Transition. This is a week where we prepare presentations for the staff of what we did and where we prepare for our next project. For the next project Raven 2 was assigned to an outreach center known as Paul’s Place; located in the western neighborhood called Pig Town/Washington Village, depending on who you ask.
Regardless, Paul’s Place prides itself on treating its “guests” with dignity and respect. That’s bit of a paraphrase of there motto. This motto is shown through all the guests who enter. Some of the services provided are a “Education & Job Readiness, Health & Wellness, Children & Youth, Day, and Case Management”.( That is from there website). R2 experienced how each program is implemented. Specifically for me, I was involved with the Children & Youth program.
What that means is that I served as a day camp counselor for 8 weeks. I was responsible for overseeing 9 out of 40 children. ( Four teammates were assigned to other groups of the same 40). I was tasked with making sure my group participated in the enrichment opportunities and monitor group dynamics as well as individual behavior. Suffice to say, this was not easy, but this sparked a potential career path in working with youth.
It was also this time that I started to attend church more on a regular basis as a parishoner. I don’t recall if I mentioned this, but there was a time that I did not attend my home church for some time. More on this soon. I need to finish the NCCC bit.
So, as the 8 weeks went by, the kids of Paul’s Place went to different 4 one week church camps, the Constitution center in Philadelphia, an amusement park, a farm, watching Shawn the Sheep at a movie theatre, and a sailing camp. These were not easy days for sure, but there were great memories to be had by all.
After these weeks, we transitioned back to Dundalk to prepare for our final project: returning to upstate New York , but this time in Albany the capital. R2 was assigned to work with Habitat for Humanity Capital District. We assisted with construction of 6-7 row houses . Though we did not complete the construction , we helped with the progression. I gained experience using a concrete saw, installing insulation, also installing phone and cable wire in the ground,installing windows & doors, operating heavy machinery such as a Crane( I don’t know the official name). I enjoyed excursions in Albany: such as hiking, Halloween, grocery shopping at a two story Walmart( that tells you about the excitement level) apple picking, and participating in community meals at a local Lutheran Church.
This project also came to an end. And thus we returned to Dundalk for one final week. We gave our last presentations, enjoyed a awards night, and reflected on our accomplishments from the year. The last day, November 13, 2015, was a rough day. It would be the last time Raven 2 would be together. It was a Friday and we went through a graduation ceremony of sorts. Corps members and team leaders receive certificates of completion for the hours of service. The goal is to reach 1700, but many members easily surpassed that. I don’t remember what my total was, but that is irrelevant. After the ceremony, we had one hour left before the entire corps left for the airport. Yes, we had to prepare to say goodbye.
This was the following list of events: we had lunch, donated items we did not want,we loaded our van (Night-crawler), and we drove to the BWI. The next part was difficult: each of us were dropped off at different terminals. I was dropped off at the American Airlines terminal. We all said goodbyes, emotions were high. I saved my tears for when I got home.
After that week, I had a chance to relax at home. At least I thought so,… I didn’t know what to do after not being on a team. Prior to this return, I was prepared to serve again in Americorps as a team leader in the North Central region in Vinton, Iowa. But, that did not turn out the way I’d hoped. So, I began to search for another opportunity to serve.
During this search, I gained opportunities to reconnect with family, catch up with friends, and traveled to the Bahamas for Thanksgiving. Also, I got the opportunity to see my brother graduate high school. I was thrilled to see these events. Eventually, ESC was the route I chose.
So to sum up the process, I applied in January, had many interviews, and received a few offers. Obviously I said yes to Colorado. Now, why ESC? Why Colorado? In due time dear friend. All the points that I said to come back to, will be answered in the next calender year.