Hey all! Ashley here! Can you all believe that we are midway into July?!?
I am not sure about you guys, but my summer is flying by and I cannot believe I only have one month of service left. I have spent the last 11 months serving with Carson City-Crystal Area Schools in Carson City, MI. The fact that my time is almost complete is definitely bitter sweet. Carson City is my hometown and I have really appreciated the time I have gotten to spend here. I have been able to reconnect with people I went to high school with, teachers and staff I used to look up to, and work side by side with members of the community that I have known for years. All of this was extremely rewarding and has really given me a special appreciation for where I come from and how a “small town” atmosphere really is unlike any other.
One of the things that I have enjoyed about my year of service is being back with my parents. I know, I know... a lot of people are probably wondering why living back with your parents in your mid-twenties is something someone would enjoy. Well for me it had really changed our relationship for the better. I have for the first time been the only child in the household, which definitely has its own perks. I have been able to get to know my parents on a whole new level, where we almost have a mutual respect for one another that didn’t exist before. I am older, wiser, and more mature than my high school days and can, for the most part, rely on myself. They have also grown as people and don’t feel the need to have a constant watch over me! I have spent a lot of time this year talking to my parents about life and have learned more about the ins and out of their lives, including joys, struggles, hopes, ambitions, etc. I am super thankful that my year of service as a VISTA has allowed me to regain this level of closeness with my parents and I know this is something I will cherish for the rest of my life!
As I move into my last month of service, my contact with students is limited. School is out for the summer and students are spending their summers having fun, doing extra curricular activities, and leaving the area. This was a challenge for me, as it was unlike any of the other months of my service. I have spent a lot of my time preparing my legacy binder for the next VISTA. I have also been trying to figure out what materials are where and trying to find a good place to organize them, so that everything will be in one place as the next VISTA member moves in.
One of the exciting things the next VISTA has to look forward to is the addition of another partner. The VISTA will be sharing priorities with the school and also the local teen center. The teen center is an awesome facility right on Main Street of Carson City where local teenagers can hang out and do it in a safe and fun environment. The teen center is completely volunteer-run and has been reopened since last winter. My supervisor and I have been talking about partnering with them the last few months so I was very excited to hear it was approved. I believe this will create a wonderful connection between the community and teen center and I am very excited that the next VISTA will be able to make this impact.
This year has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned a lot about myself and have a greater appreciation for what VISTAs across America do. I am excited to take the next steps in my life and hopefully continue my quest to get into graduate school to be a physician assistant, and continue my work in health care. I want to wish everyone who is taking their next steps the best of luck! Cheers!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!