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.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!