Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

“On January 9th, 2010, I will already have completed two months of my one year term of service. That’s pretty unbelievable, and it still feels like I’ve only been here for a few weeks. I feel like I am still learning and still trying to truly grasp the immensity of my job.  In part, I suppose that this is because I started during the holiday season, and thus nothing has been completely normal.  Much of my time has been dedicated to helping with the Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, the Christmas Toy Drive, and now the Super Bowl Ticket Raffle.  While I have greatly enjoyed these projects, I feel that I am still learning what it truly means to coordinate service learning students and projects.  Also, as a facilitator and a liaison, much of my time is spent waiting for responses from other people, and it often seems hard to actually get anything accomplished.  I enjoy my job, but I often worry that I am not being productive enough. Brainstorming projects and holding meetings is one thing, but actually getting projects off the ground is a different thing altogether.   
 
The new semester will be starting soon, and I am afraid that I will not be prepared to hold orientations and to recruit students at service learning fairs.  As a recent graduate, I feel as if I should be studying the theories behind service learning and the best practices for recruitment.  In some ways, it feels like taking a test for which I have not studied. However, I suppose that this is not realistic because there is work that needs to be done on a daily basis, and I will simply have to learn by doing.  One of the greatest benefits of AmeriCorps VISTA is the experience that it provides, and experience cannot be gained by reading a book or by researching on the internet. Thus, I am entering into new territory, the world of real life experience.  Wish me luck as I venture out and learn by trial and error; I will report back next month as to how the beginning of the spring semester goes!” -Jackie Thornton, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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