Fighting Poverty with Passion
The past month as been pretty exciting for me. I was chosen to become an Americorps VISTA for Network Voluntours (a non-profit in New Orleans) through Tulane University. I was happy to accept the position at Network because it was understood that the position would be challenging. I love a challenge and I love the mission of Network. Before I could get started at Network I had to attend my Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) for the VISTA program.
My PSO took place at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in northeastern Atlanta.
Americorps paid for my travel, lodging, and two meals a day while I was there. It was a great experience. Upon arriving, had a welcome session that lasted about an hour and a half, afterwhich we were given the rest of the night off. The next morning we were broken up into “color groups” with several other VISTAs. Each color group had a facilitator and I was lucky enough to have Elaine K. Williams as mine. Elaine is a very warm, caring, and wise individual. Our group was very diverse and Elaine lead us beautifully. I was an Orientation Leader at the University of New Orleans my junior and senior years so I have an understanding of how these programs can affect people in terms of energy. There was never a dull moment with Elaine. It was not that she was a bouncing ball of energy for 8 hours a day, she just truly engaged with us and made us want to do the same. We were given free time after our sessions ended for the day in order to give us time to connect with our new VISTA family and experience the city.
The subject matter we discussed with her centered around poverty. As Americorps VISTAs it is our mission to eliminate poverty through capacity building and community outreach.
I will openly admit that any personal experience I have had with poverty has been from afar. I have been very fortunate in my life and am lucky enough to have people who love me and will not allow me to have a direct experience with it unless it is of my own choosing to do so. Because of this, I feel I must approach this problem in a creative way. I want to apply my strengths and interests toward fighting poverty. Ultimately, I want my career to be in the field of Sustainability. Throughout my time as a VISTA, I will observe (it is one of my strengths) and improvise. My focus will be to see how I can apply the principles of sustainability toward solving poverty. It is going to be an exciting journey, one I intend to have a lasting impact on my life and hopefully the lives of others.