April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service to help strengthen communities. Communities In Schools has nearly 70,000 volunteers across the country. Parents, business and civic leaders, mentors, tutors, board members and AmeriCorps members all give their time to support students, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Today’s blog post is by Kelly Lindberg, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who works with Communities In Schools of Lakewood, Wash.
I am currently the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Pierce College, Lakewood, Wash., where my job duties include promoting service-learning and getting students involved with the community by volunteering. I love it! It has been an amazing opportunity. I look at college students as positive role models to struggling youth, so when I was hired as a VISTA, I came into the job knowing I wanted to get college students involved with the youth in our community.
Through AmeriCorps, I came across an amazing, local organization called Communities In Schools. I met with the executive director of Communities In Schools of Lakewood, and we discussed the potential of having qualified college students, including military veterans, mentoring local youth who may be at risk. This connection had never been made before. After becoming a mentor myself, I decided to start getting the college deans, campus president and faculty involved in creating something for our students to be a part of.
As this school year is coming to an end, we will be starting a collaborative program with Communities In Schools of Lakewood and the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom campus. We will be letting college students make an impact on young student’s lives. It will be an opportunity for both the college students and the youth being mentored to learn from one another.
Our next meeting is with Communities In Schools of Puyallup, where we will hopefully establish a partnership with the Pierce College Puyallup campus. This is something that faculty and students are excited about and they are looking forward to making a difference. It’s a major accomplishment for both the college and the Communities In Schools school sites.
My term as a VISTA volunteer will be up in the fall. Working with Communities in Schools has impacted my own personal life in so many ways. I can see myself working with Communities In Schools while finishing my master’s degree. I want to send a big thank you to Communities In Schools because it truly is affecting students in the most positive way. Communities In Schools is making a change not only in younger students, but now college students as well.