|Silver 5 at the Sacramento Zoo.|
I began my AmeriCorps service before I ever truly signed on to AmeriCorps. Coming from a foodservice background in college, I had a difficult time connecting my desire to serve with my academic background. In fact, I was almost positive it couldn't be done. The answer I was looking for came from a lady by the name of Julia Maulden. Though Mrs. Maulden passed long before I began my service journey no to mention long before the chance to ever meet her in person - she inspired me more than I can say. Julia was much of the inspiration behind Julia's Cafe, a non-profit coffee house with profits supporting Habitat for Humanity. My job at Julia's Coffee was my first taste of what I could get by committing myself to national service. It is strange to thing that this introduction to national service came from a paying job as a barista receiving tips - but without that detour taken at Julia's which I needed to support myself through college, I never would have met the AmeriCorps Habitat Charlotte members that inspired me to join the cause.
Julia once said, "You can't just sit around loving your neighbor abstractly; you have to get out and do something for him". That is exactly the sentiment I took with me when I decided joining AmeriCorps was the best decision I could possibly make if I wanted to serve my country in a way that I found to be personally fulfilling. After a couple of daydream sessions, a long talk with a very inspired AmeriCorps VISTA member, and a few volunteer sessions building houses with Habitat Charlotte I made the leap in joining AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps. I credit that decision as being being the best I have ever made in my life thus far. I don't even like to think of the path not traveled when it comes to my choice to serve. Deciding to fly out to California to work and live 24/7 with complete strangers to work in the snow, rain, sun, and every other weather condition nature could throw at us was one of the bravest things I believe I have ever done. And it was totally worth it.
Stay tuned and I'll tell you a little more about my NCCC experience with the folks pictured above tomorrow.