Editor's Note: For the fourth year an AmeriCorps or VISTA member from the Federal Way AmeriCorps and VISTA Team has written a reflections column for Volunteer. Instead of one writer this year, three AmeriCorp members will share this column space. These columns are a reflections of the impact that volunteering has on someone's life. Enjoy.
Federal Way AmeriCorps and VISTA Team. Established in 1995, the Federal Way AmeriCorps program works to strengthen the Federal Way community through academic tutoring and modeling an ethic of service.
AmeriCorps members in Federal Way serve full time in the Federal Way Public Schools. In addition to tutoring students and developing before and after school programs, members manage two community tutoring programs, implement civic engagement community projects and serve in area service projects. AmeriCorps members also recruit and train community volunteers. For more information on their programs http://www.fwps.org/dept/volunteer/acfw.html
ON THE TOPIC OF "FINISHING STRONG. . ."
This is something my supervisor brings up a lot. When I’m in school, I hardly ever think about the end of my term until I am reminded suddenly (usually by students excitedly announcing we have so and so many days left). It is easy for me to get so focused on each day, each class, each student I’m tutoring. But recently, I started thinking about this “finishing strong” business. How on Earth am I going to end this year, and leave this school and these students who have become so important to me?
Of course, I know the year will end; seniors will graduate and juniors will become seniors. Life goes on regardless of how impossible it might seem to me right now, entrenched as I am in important day-to-day business of tutoring in Algebra 2 and editing essays.
The fear is that I’ll just keep working, right up to June 20th, and then be unprepared to say goodbye to everyone. What I really need to think about, in addition to maintaining enthusiasm and positivity until the last day (very important and hard to do), is accepting that this year of service is just that: one year.
Sky Friedlander hails from State College, Pennsylvania. She attended Maryland Institute College of Art for one year and proceeded to transfer to Penn State University, where she graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in English. This year she is pleased to call herself a member of the Federal Way AmeriCorps team!
Laura Ingalls is a recent graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She received her Bachelor's in print journalism and political science with a minor in religion. She moved to Washington in August to join the Federal Way Public Schools AmeriCorps team. Tentatively, she has plans to return to school in order to pursue a teaching degree while she continues to serve her community in any capacity she can.
Monica Kaplan, graduated in May 2009 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, with a Bachelor of Science degree. I am currently serving with the AmeriCorps Program in the Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS). Volunteering hands and heart to service, changing young minds, and making a difference in the greater scheme of life.