Hey everyone! I hope your VISTA experience is going as well as (if not better than) you had hoped! Throughout the past nine months I have had the opportunity to affect the lives of so many students in as positive a way as I can. Being a VISTA in the same community where I grew up has been incredibly rewarding, and I'd like to use this blog post to describe the event that left the biggest impact on me during my VISTA year thus far.
On April 21st, I loaded three Alcona students into my car early in the morning and embarked on a trip to Baker College in Owosso. These students all have extenuating circumstances that made post-secondary education seem like a pipe dream in their eyes. One of the students, Brittany, moved into the area well behind on credits and is struggling to catch up while having to help support her household financially. Another, Jared, was accused of something he did not do early in his high school career, tarnishing his reputation and lowering his level of motivation for a period of time. And the third student, Zac, is currently without a permanent address or source of money. I hoped this visit to Baker (and their previous introduction to T.I.P. by our wonderful AdviseMI person Meaghan and I) would open their eyes to the possibility of a post-secondary education. What resulted from the trip was better than I could have imagined.
All three students loved the campus and the area. We even got to speak to one of the welding instructors at the college, who provided specific information pertaining to the program in which the students are interested. As we got on the road back to Lincoln, Zac and Jared were already making plans to attend Baker in the fall and room together on campus, with Brittany (who is a sophomore) making similar plans to apply when the time comes. All three students have been working hard to improve their grades in the weeks since the trip as well.
This incredible impact was made possible by simply providing these students with the knowledge that they have opportunities to pursue education further than high school despite less than ideal circumstances. The positive response from these three students warmed my heart, and I am so excited to follow their progress. I hope each and every one of my fellow VISTAs has had at least one moment this year that affected you the way this small trip affected me.
Good luck in the remainder of your VISTA service and beyond to all my colleagues, and a quick thank you to Maggie, Shalyn, and Jake for being their awesome selves!
Each blog post is written by one of our program's VISTAs!