Although I’m not an AmeriCorps member, I do agree with the president’s belief of “willingness”. I think people must possess a willing attitude in order to make real change in their own lives and communities. I believe service can be transformative not only for those you serve but also yourself. I remember my second year in college, when I decided to volunteer at a non-profit called SisterTime in Atlanta, an organization providing social and educational services for women living with HIV/AIDS. As months progressed, I remember feeling empowered to help these women in the smallest ways possible. In fact, my volunteer experience at SisterTime, encouraged me to volunteer a few years later in 2007 at another AIDS organization called Keep A Child Alive and travel back to South Africa with the founder to work and assist AIDS orphans.
Just recently, my urge to volunteer has resurfaced again. I’ve started to reflect on how my earlier service impacted others but also how it helped me not to focus on myself. With the encouragement of a dear friend, I decided on Monday to sign up with New York Cares, a non-profit mobilizing New Yorkers in volunteer services. My goal is to help fight illiteracy. As a child, I had trouble learning how to read. Without the help of tutors and dedicated teachers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My hope is to encourage children to become better readers as I was once encouraged.
I believe we all, in our small ways, have the power to impact others around us to strengthen our communities and help to realize the president’s vision of a stronger nation.
Annya M. Lott is the Careers Editor of Black Enterprise