In honor of AmeriCorps Week, today we conclude 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 041.2-16.3.34B
Stations. We have come quite a ways from the classroom setting where our scholars have had countless discussions about their community and the problems that plague them. They are tired of the cycle of drugs, violence, poverty, educational inequities, etc. and as we are moving from theory to practice, they now want stations. Yes, stations. Let me explain.
For our MLK Day service project, our site partnered with a grassroots organization to provide for the homeless within our borders. The day included having four tables called “stations” that held coffee and donuts, a meal, clothing and toiletries; bags of toiletries that our young people assembled and handed out. Inspired by their experience, they have decided to do something similar for their ServiceWorks Capstone Project. They have entitled their project, “Caring & Sharing” and will utilize their school space to create provision stations, but instead of tables, they will have rooms; one room to obtain a meal, one room for clothing, another for toiletries, and finally, a large open space to eat and commune together.
There is much to do as we continue with the development and planning process, but the scholars are abuzz. “Maybe we can include some kind of counseling services,” expresses one and “I can cook the food myself,” shares another. They have a concept that they will transform into beautiful action and I am excited to see them see it — to see their Work turn into Service.
Invested energy. Watch out and hold on.