Fighting Poverty with Passion
A frequent source of kvetching for many VISTAs (at least from this one) is that often times we can feel very separated from the mission of our organization. Our job roles and commitments have vary vastly across the cohort, but I know from personal experience as well as conversations with others that sometimes the life of a VISTA can be tough because by definition we are not supposed to be doing direct service. Although at first my behind the scenes role was frustrating and at times seemingly futile, it has helped me gain a better appreciation for well-run organizations, events, and all non-profit activities.
As much as I love sitting at my computer sending emails and handling grants, one thing I’ve enjoyed most are my opportunities to engage with others through my term with Grace at the Green Light. Whether its navigating the Restaurant Depot gauntlet (including the surly cashier sphinxes), picking up dozens of grocery bags from Rouse’s, dropping off frozen chicken fingers at the church, or doling out food for our friends at breakfast in the morning, I’ve learned to really relish the relationships that I encounter and build through my out of office activities. The simple act of serving breakfast once or twice a week (and the accompanying alarm snoozing once or twice those mornings) helps me create a deeper connection and dedication to the work I do in the office.
As we prepare for a season of thanks, this is one thing I am most thankful about: the opportunity to engage with the cause I signed on to assist. At times, I still sometimes suffer from cabin fever when “I build capacity… to help them more effectively generate the commitment of private sector resources, encourage volunteer service at the local level, and empower individuals and communities,” my commitment to GGL’s cause gets renewed every time I get to experience first hand the fruits of my labor.