From the Upper Peninsula to Columbus, OH: One AmeriCorps Member's Journey

People have told me that there should be a camera crew following me around to make a reality show of my life. Personally, I think it would be hilarious. The situations I find myself in are extreme. Sometimes I feel like I’m a super hero trying to save the world. I go to work every day and I never know what could come up. One thing I do know, I’m out there preparing the community and when disaster strikes I’m right there to help pick up the pieces. Along the road I’ve seen people down and out and I’ve meet the most compassionate people. Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of stories to tell.

I was raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the outskirts of a village of 500. We lived in a two-story house my father had built into the side of a hill, without the amenities most in this country are accustomed to. There was no electricity, running water or pluming. An outhouse would be hard to potty train any child on, but taking into consideration the harsh winters that the U.P. brings and you can only imagine what a challenge that must have brought my mother.

I moved to Columbus, OH years ago. To get involved and meet friends in area I started volunteering with many different groups; everything from working on a 24 hour horror movie festival to serving wine at local events. I had fun and met a lot of interesting people, but was always a little disappointed that most opportunities were limited and were over when after the event took place.

One day I called the American Red Cross and soon after started volunteering in a number of different capacities. The great thing about this organization is that it’s not just working a onetime event, but there is a chance for ongoing participation. All of a sudden I found myself in intense conditions, trained and surrounded by other dedicated people.

I’m not going to say that it’s always been easy, but I will say that there are some people who are able to remain calm and get the job done when the need arises. I’m one of those people. I feel that I have a unique ability to understand and empathize with others and am dedicated to helping people.

It was around this time that I learned of the AmeriCorps program and that there were positions within the American Red Cross as well as other local organizations. Today I’ve been working with the group for a year and a half. Between growing up in the country and the training that’s been provided to me I’m able to deal with any circumstance that I’m put into. I work with the most diverse group I’ve ever seen and have a blast doing so.

Thanks to Kat Ellery, AmeriCorps member, for this post.

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