Hello again, I am Kyra Smith a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the Battle Creek College Access Network (BCCAN) in Battle Creek, MI. It’s hard to believe that I only have three months left in my service term. Along with serving as a VISTA I also attend Western Michigan University where I am pursuing a degree in Public Health, with a minor in Social Work. My first year as an AmeriCorps VISTA has been a remarkable learning experience filled with so much personal and professional growth. In the last nine months, I’ve learned much more than I learned in school and gained a supportive team who supports me in my academic, personal, and professional endeavors. My primary role has been to develop a peer mentoring program for the recipients of our Legacy Scholars Scholarship which is housed at BCCAN. However, all recipients of the scholarships attend Kellogg Community College. Initially when I began this experience I had this fear that I possibly wouldn’t do well in my role, but I have surprised myself of my accomplishments. Although our mentor program is still in the pilot stages, there have been many successes and areas for growth. Initially the program was targeted to serve seniors in high school who would possibly be recipients of our scholarship. However, after observing the lack of student engagement, we decided to redevelop the program to cater to current first year students who are receiving our scholarship. The current participants are being mentored by upperclassmen students at Kellogg Community College and Western Michigan University where they meet monthly with their mentors. Through these changes we have seen some growth in student interest, as well as mentors. There are still some areas in which we can expand the program. Being that I do plan to serve another term I’m excited to see what will take place this coming school year.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!