When I was thirteen, my stepmother took me to church. I thought it was strange waiting for mass to start, particularly on a Thursday evening and especially since that day wasn’t a special holiday. We waited silently until someone motioned to us to enter a back room where we could feed the homeless. I went to work, handing out dinner rolls and margarine to the people sitting at long tables, packed together that cold night looking for warmth to fill their bellies and souls. That night, I passed out food to people who responded with smiles and kindness in their eyes. An older woman lightly touched my wrist and thanked me in a small voice. I was touched and thankful that I could help. Twice a month after that, my family and I plated food and served drinks to the less fortunate.
I have a particular fondness for the homeless community. Maybe it’s based on what my stepmother instilled in me that first day volunteering all those years ago. Maybe it’s because of their heartbreaking, yet relatable stories. Maybe it’s because I was homeless myself. I found myself homeless in the fall of 2009. I was without a home, had no form of shelter or food and money. If it wasn’t for the support I received during those four months from some key individuals, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now.
I believe it is important to pay it forward. In college, I became deeply involved in student politics and volunteer groups. Through my service in these organizations, I discovered that I had a knack and passion for talking to people and helping them out in different situations. It was in these clubs that I found myself I evolved into being a leader instead of a follower and discovered that I want to help people discover their lives the way I discovered mine. By paying it forward, I discovered what I truly wanted to do with my life and made plenty of great friends and memories along the way.
I hope one day to become a clinical social worker. With a position in AmeriCorps, I hope to earn the knowledge and experience of working intensely with the homeless population. I did some research online and came to the conclusion that this would be the perfect venture for me. It would satisfy my passion for volunteer work and paying it forward. One of my greatest dream is to have someone come back to see me and tell them that I changed their life. I see AmeriCorps helping this dream of mine become a reality and being the perfect teacher for greater self-discovery.