Maybe that's why I decided to commit a year of my life to serving my community as an AmeriCorps member. Besides being a Wrinkler, I serve full-time at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids as a GED Specialist. With 19 fellow members by my side, we enhance Goodwill's capacity to serve the community through it's various programs and outreach. Being an AmeriCorps member is an amazing experience that is sure to have a long-lasting impact on my life and the way I approach my involvement in the community in the future.
During our service year, we divide into groups of 4 or 5 and plan 6 service projects around various themes. Anyone who knows me knows I have a passion for youth and education, so of course I signed up to organize a project for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). Organizations around the globe have planned projects for GYSD and it's pretty cool to think about the impact being made to the millions being served by this initiative.
We wanted to not only plan a project that benefited the youth, but one where the youth could actually engage in something that would impact them for years to come. We ended up partnering with The League Michigan and Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center to build a greenhouse. Godfrey-Lee had an existing partnership with Dégagé Ministries where women from Dégagé would come to the school and help with recess and tutoring and in return, the school would have various sales to promote the women's program.
They sold pencils, plants, anything they could think of to help out. Then, they decided to sell salsa and have been able to help women experiencing homelessness purchase bus tickets and meal vouchers. By building a greenhouse, Goodwill is boosting Godfrey-Lee's capacity to serve the women at Dégagé. The women may even maintain the garden in the summer when school is not in session!
The women benefit by having a sense of purpose, gaining valuable skills, and the access to resources to help them move forward with their lives. The students get to learn about all kinds of things from plant biology, to gardening, construction to cooking. Most importantly, though, they learn the value of giving back to others and that small acts of compassion can make a huge impact in the lives of others.
I even had the chance to talk about it with Maranda of WOTV 4 for Earth Day. You can see the clip below!
I'm proud that my team pulled this together! And I'm looking forward to continuing to serve my community in the future.
I'd love to hear what you do to serve! Share your experiences below!