|Cleaning off my rain gear in Portland.|
It is AmeriCorps week! I figure that the best way to show my support is to shed a little light on my very own AmeriCorps journey by posting photos throughout the week that mean a lot to me.
While living with a team of my peers and traveling was enough of an adventure in itself, more than anything I remember the work Silver 5 did during our NCCC stint. At the end of every day each of us would be asked by our team leader, Jeff, "What are your quantifiables?". That question is really just a slightly more technical way of saying "What did you do today?". On days where I felt like I was just one person chipping away at a large block (i.e. spending all day nailing in baseboards of a Habitat home realizing you have several more homes to complete this task in) hearing my team talk about their daily accomplishment brought me back down to the ground where I realized that as a team we could accomplish more than we ever thought we could. Though I may have felt unproductive in my eight hours baseboard nailing, while I had my nose to the grindstone someone else was finishing painting closets, another was installing appliances, someone was leading a team of volunteers in installing a patio, and so on. In this particular example of our service with Habitat Portland/Metro East, we expedited the construction of thirteen homes so that the families could move in by the winter holidays. Acknowledgement of that outcome made countless hours of baseboard nailing more than worth it. We more than accomplished our goal - and we were only able to do so by working as a comprehensive team of motivated individual with various skill sets and passions.
Amazingly we turned those 13 house-like structures into polished homes in just a matter of six weeks. In the course of a ten-month NCCC commitment, that's really just a drop in the bucket concerning time. I can't even begin to say how many tons of firewood we chopped for Sugar Pine Christian Camp, how many miles of fire entrenchment we cut for the US Forest Service in order to secure fire prone areas, or how many countless hours were spent working on independent service projects such as removing invasive species at community farms, sorting books at a children's book bank, and even building a cat playplace for a haven for abused animals. Without boasting, I've gotta say we did a lot and we were just one team. My team was one of about thirty teams on campus, and our campus was just one of five total campuses. I cannot even begin to fathom all the work that has been done since the creation of AmeriCorps. Recent data says that AmeriCorps members have served over 1 billion hours since 1990. One billion. Talk about unfathomable.
NCCC has directed me to some awesome place - most notably my current AmeriCorps position with the Town of Farragut. I protect our waterways, I recycle tons of refuse, I use my creative skills for outreach and education, and sometimes I dress up as a unicorn. More on that tomorrow.
|Those baseboards I was talking about...|