In honor of AmeriCorps Week, today we continue a multi-part series entitled “The Navigator’s Log,” created by LaRhonda Boone, an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Jersey Cares’ ServiceWorks program in Newark, NJ. ServiceWorks helps youth ages 16-24 to develop workplace skills through specialized training and to gain leadership experience by designing and implementing community service projects. You can learn more about Service Works here.
Every volunteer’s story is unique, and while LaRhonda’s story, which is still being written, is her own, she provides us with insight into what it is, can be – and at times hopefully won’t often be – to be a volunteer.
Navigator’s Log Lovedate 339.2-15.5.05B
By: LaRhonda Boone, AmeriCorps VISTA
With scholars finally entering our realm, I’ve seen one or two shooting stars but they were of a different sort. They were stars that shoot, not across the sky, but with guns as in harm & danger. Their target, another scholar, survived though he was grazed and all of this after only a day or two of meeting. Shooting stars, as you know, aren’t really stars at all but are meteors that flash & burn away, and as expected they were removed from the program before the program really began. No staff, crew member or other scholars were hurt as the shooting occurred off-site, but when a burning meteor crashes to our world, our space, we are all impacted. And yet that was one kind of light – a fiery, angry, one.
Since then, as Scholars have gone through our host site’s Mental Toughness process (one that assesses preparation & readiness and in so doing weeds out a few) I’ve seen pockets of brilliance. I do not mean intelligence, street-smarts or even common sense. Through Mental Toughness and our recent ServiceWorks info session, I’ve seen charred embers begin to brightly glow. While there is hesitation (a fight even –by some Scholars) to keep their light hidden for fear of ridicule, vulnerability and disappointment, it is hard when nothing but love, support, encouragement and the idea of possibilities form meteors of their own to chip away at a Scholar’s resolve. The embers will glow until they catch and then there will be fire. Not an angry one, but one of determination. And that is another light – a radiantly beautiful one.