Fighting Poverty with Passion
|One of the few things I remember from the content of AmeriCorps’ Pre-service orientation was this ridiculous cartoon that was supposed to represent the year cycle of a VISTA’s emotional state on the job. I can’t remember the exact cartoon, but it involves a man on a tight rope in various positions throughout his year of service. I believe it is the 4 month mark when he is hanging on to the tight rope with his hands and has a terrified look on his face.
This past month, some five months into my service, I have come to identify with this particular tight rope position. Needless to say, it was a rough month and I very seriously considered leaving VISTA and even New Orleans. I won’t go into the details of the issues that contributed to my mini-crisis, but I will say that what got me through it was the amount of support I felt from the network of VISTAs and VISTA alumns in the Tulane program. I’ve made many good relationships with people who have gone and are going through similar things and I am so grateful to have this group of people to turn to. I can’t imagine serving in a place where I wouldn’t have a group like this to rely on. Things are still not perfect for me here, but I have truly realized how grateful I am to be in a program with so many talented and supportive peers. –Laura Mellem, AmeriCorps VISTA