Hello VISTA friends!
My name is Rachel Miller and I am a first-year Michigan Nonprofit Association VISTA serving with the LEAGUE Michigan schools at Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA) right in downtown Detroit, Michigan. DEPSA is a charter school with a mission to have every student graduate and attend a four-year university. I am here to promote a college-going and college ready environment. Later in the year, I will be involved in service-learning.
My role here is ever-changing to best meet the needs of the students. Currently, I am in the classroom during the seniors’ college seminar (about five hours of my day). Though it is a slow process, it is great getting to know students on a more personal level. I am there to help with anything college--from finding scholarships to college applications to helping the counseling team coordinate school-wide events, like participating in the nation-wide College Application Month. I had my first meeting with the Junior class International Baccalaureate students. They are just learning about their 18-month service projects, and I will be available to help brainstorm ideas and make connections with organizations.
I attend conferences and professional development whenever possible. My favorites so far have been the National College Access Network’s annual conference and the Michigan League for Public Policy’s forum on Race, Poverty, and Policy: Creating an Equitable Michigan. I have also gone to college counseling events so I can learn about different programs, resources, etc. for college access. These give me the chance to make connections with college reps in person.
All of these experiences have helped my skill set grow, along with my confidence in approaching strangers. I am getting glimpses of possible career directions for when my service year is up. I am fortunate enough to have a fluid role, where I can find my own opportunities and fill needs when they arise.
Thank you all for your service, it is an amazing feeling to be part of a group that cares so deeply about their communities!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!