Fighting Poverty with Passion
This semester LatiNola is partnering with a PR class from Loyola, who will be writing a media kit to help us recruit more volunteers from the community. Eventually they will be writing some things that we have specifically asked for, but as the semester begins they are getting started by writing biographies for LatiNola team members. In a few cases this means…me! A couple of the students called for phone interviews while I was in the office. Although the interviews were very short and were conducted for a class assignment, I couldn’t help but enjoy the experience of being interviewed about my education, background, and past experience. I felt like I must be such an expert! And during one of these mini-interviews, as my colleagues were whispering in the background, ‘who is she talking to?’, I was thinking just this- man, I’m such an authority- stating where I’m from, where I went to college, and what I studied all with such ease! Then all of a sudden this student hit me with a question that was not so run-of-the-mill and I was not so proepared to answer: ‘what has been your contribution to LatiNola?’
It was a simple enough question, and one I should have a simple answer to, but I had never been asked so directly what my contribution had been. As I am approaching the end of my VISTA term with the organization, the lasting contribution that I will leave should be more and more clear. But how do I turn all the time I have spent, all the emails, phone calls, events, new faces, and small changes to existing systems, into a one-sentance product of my year as a VISTA volunteer? Should there be such a clear product? Would this be the proof that I have build capacity?
I don’t remember exactly how I responded to the student’s question, but it’s a question I am going to think about a lot over the next two months. Now that I have this question in my head, I will be able to articulate the answer with more and more ease over the next months. -Christina Decker, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
To learn more about Christina’s work with Puentes New Orleans, visit their webpage at: http://puentesno.org