Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Dougherty. I am an AmeriCorps VISTA serving out of Pinckney, MI. As my elevator speech would go, my service assignment within Pinckney involves working with teachers, students and local businesses to help increase service-learning and service projects within the school district. It is the support from the teachers and community that not only make this position possible but also successful.
District wide we have had over seventy service projects and service lessons, along with nine articles in the press about the good taking place within the community. It is through joint effort from both the district and local businesses that we have been able to create a cycle of giving. The teachers and students are always finding ways to better support their local community and it is up to me to bridge that gap. All in all, teachers come to me with projects and/or lessons they want to pursue and I make a connection within the community.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding service projects that has taken place within the district thus far has been the 'Giving Tree' at Pathfinder Middle School, hosted by the Porthole classroom. During this month long project students, parents, and teachers brought in gifts to help support a local family for the holidays. Collectively the class collected an overwhelming amount of gifts for the family. I was fortunate enough to be able to deliver the gifts to the nonprofit, who then delivered the gifts to the family. Gratitude and thankfulness are the only words I could use to describe the look on the ladies face when bringing in what seemed to be a never ending supply of gifts.
With so many projects and so much learning taking place I wanted to create an initiative that would support the Pinckney community. Therefore, one of my projects is a portfolio consisting of photographs taken during service projects and lessons. In addition I realized I needed a platform to share this all, so I decided to create a website. The website will allow all of Pinckney to take a look at what the students have achieved. The website will also include information such as grants, local community information, projects and lessons to help insure sustainability within the district for years to come.
Overall this experience has been irreplaceable. Although the hours can be long and the projects tedious, never have I felt more passion and authenticity on my day to day pursuits. Not only does it feel good to be making strides within a community but also getting to know the community has been a treat too. So many generous and beautiful people reside in Pinckney,MI and I plan to continue to find ways to better support the community.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!