Hi there, I’m Lauren Zlotecki serving at Carson City-Crystal District Area Schools (CC-C) with AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) and The LEAGUE Michigan. I get to work with the districts teachers, administration, and community partners in Carson City and the surrounding area focusing on service-learning to benefit the students and fight poverty. Before they graduate from school in the next couple weeks and move on from their CC-C experiences, we are currently in the middle of the high school seniors’ portfolio presentations. The seniors create a website then walk the interview panel through the portfolio while sharing their favorite work, memories, and future goals. Then, the volunteer panels compiling of community members including school board members, a county commissioner, and president of the local hospital, along with several other full-time professionals ask follow up questions. A grand total of 65 soon-to-be grads are scheduled throughout the week in 15-minute time slots to present and answer a series of reflective and professional interview questions posed by the panel. It was great to note, after talking with the president of the local hospital, he express how beneficial this practice of interviewing job applicants was to his employees.
After talking with the students about what they thought of the new way to deliver their final English project, all feel better prepared for future interviews and professional experiences. The interviewing community members are excited to see what the students have to offer and “love the chance to help the students” prepare for their next step be it full-time work or further education. Everyone who was involved is looking forward to this happening again in the near future.
As the VISTA I was so happy to work on this project with the senior/AP English teachers who have seen and helped these students grow over the years. This project was a prime example of my goal with service learning where the students apply what they’ve learned directly to a real life situation while members of the community also benefit from the experience creating a self-improving unity.
This also comes at a time of reflection as I head into the final segment of my VISTA year. I can’t believe how much I have truly learned while helping the community in what feels like such a short time. I will always look back on this as a decision that was incomparable not just for the year after graduating college but for my future and the life I want.
Hi there, my name’s Lauren! I’m serving in Carson City, Michigan with Carson
City-Crystal Area School District (CC-C). I get to work with all classes,
kindergarten through high school seniors and their teachers promoting service
learning with the help of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and The
LEAGUE Michigan (TLM) in our community and the classroom throughout the
Service learning is a relationship between what the students are learning in the classroom and what they can do in their community! It has been exactly 3 months since I’ve begun this invaluable service experience and it’s amazing to see what has been happening in the community in what feels like such a short time. Within the first month CC-C completed it’s annual Serve-A-Thon where every single class of every grade created a service project to benefit the community in some way.
From a free car wash to working on the community nature trail, volunteers spread throughout the community all at the same time in the same day to give back.
It’s wonderful to also facilitate the high schools Service and Leadership Team with these students who are so eager to do projects to better their community and themselves. Throughout the year they manage the schools recycling program and brainstorm different activities such as a community 5k or fundraisers, even volunteering with community events.
Grant writing was the one thing I had zero experience with coming into my service year. Then, before I knew it with the help of my supervisors and VISTA Leader I wrote, submitted, and was awarded my first grant ever. Being able to learn a skill like that to help CC-C accomplish its service projects was illuminating to what can be accomplished in my service.
Even though I’m a fourth of the way through my year already I’m thankful for everything I’ve learned thus far in my VISTA experience and excited for what is yet to come and how much more I need to learn. Helping this community full of people that care so much about their students success and how they work every day to better themselves and their home benefits me just as much as it contributes to their goals. Volunteering is hard work but it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten the chance to do.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!