Fighting Poverty with Passion
Technically a VISTA is always giving. As full-time volunteers it is, by definition, our job. But during the holiday season, the season of giving, this brought up a lot of thoughts in my mind. How do we give to those that we love? How do we give to those who need it? How do we give to ourselves to ensure we maintain our mental health? And how do we do all of this on a modest living stipend.
This holiday season, I was fortunate enough to be able to go home and spend time with my family. I was able to celebrate the holidays surrounded by the people I loved. I also spent this time home reflecting, relaxing and indulging in self-care. Almost halfway through my VISTA term and I was feeling exhausted. I was questioning how effective I had been the five months prior and what I could accomplish in the next seven months to complete my VISTA assignments. This reflection made me reshape how I would approach the rest of my VISTA experience. I planned to take strides to take better care of myself not just when I was home or had the time to relax, but when my life was in full swing and I truly needed the care the most.
This care took many different shapes. I wanted to read more books. I wanted to get better sleep. I wanted to spend more time in the gym to feel healthier and happier. But I didn’t want to set resolutions – I felt like if I did, I would feel disappointment when I did not accomplish them. Instead, I set out to change things in my life little by little. I would hold myself accountable but would tell myself its okay to sometimes binge-watch an awful Netflix show because that’s really all I can handle in that moment.
My last reflection was how to give to those in my communities who need it. I don’t know exactly what shape that takes, maybe it means donating somewhere monthly, maybe it means finding somewhere to volunteer with on a regular basis, and maybe it means finding a way to use my voice to stand up for what I believe in.