Fighting Poverty with Passion
When I applied to be a part of the Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA team, I wanted to expose myself to working with at risk youth, low – income families, and minorities as a part of the greater New Orleans community. Having graduated from Tulane University, I of course volunteered with as many projects as I could and worked with local organizations, however as a student you only have so much time and passion to dedicate to volunteering that I didn’t feel like I actually made a difference in the city that provided me with so much growth. Doing VISTA was a way for me to both give back to my community, and learn how to work with the population I would like to work for in the future. In the next couple of years, I hope to become a doctor, more specifically a pediatrician that works with children who have been exposed to trauma. My term as an AmeriCorps has allowed me to learn more about what that means to be a child in trauma, it has also allowed me to understand the complexities and obstacles of living in low-income so I can fully understand how to communicate and relate to the patients I hope to treat.
Last month my parents lost their health insurance. Since I am under 25 I have always been reassured that I wouldn’t need my own until then, but with them nearing the age of Medicare I had to find my own insurance. I learnt the terms of Obamacare and the Market Place. I truly was exposed to what it meant to have unequal access to health care and it reassured my belief that health care is a basic human right and that I will ensure that right as a health care professional. Luckily after weeks of trying to find a premium I could afford, I ended up qualifying for Medicaid. However, not everyone is as lucky as I was in this process.
Similarly, throughout the year, budgeting has become a large part of my life. During our weekly VISTA Friday Professional Development’s, we have learnt how to fundraise, write grants, and budget for our organization, however this has motivated me to learn how to be frugal and save. Just this week I managed to go grocery shopping for under $42 and acquire a lot of healthy, long lasting food items that will last me over a week and half. I think knowing how to use your money well Is important. I start school at University of Pennsylvania in the fall and I will be officially financing everything on my own, including health insurance and phone bills. This term as a VISTA has helped shaped me into a true adult and I feel like now I have a handle on how to overcome any challenge I may run into in the near future.
With all of the ups and downs my year with AmeriCorps VISTA has thrown my way, I do believe that it has helped me mature and appreciate the work of many. It has shaped the way I wish to pursue my future career and it has allowed me to learn abut Non-Profit management and efficacy amongst many other things and I thank the Center for Restorative Approaches for that.