Reflections on a Year of AmeriCorps Service

We absolutely love working with cohorts of AmeriCorps Members at New American Pathways each year. This year’s cohort has been tremendous and we are immensely grateful for all they have done to support the clients we all serve together. For this month’s Thought Leader Piece, we asked the outgoing cohort of members to share reflections on their year of service.

“First, I would like to thank all of the New AP staff for their kindness and support throughout this year.  

 I came into this service year expecting to learn a lot about education and the refugee experience in America and hoping that I could foster students’ learning through the afterschool program. Now I’m at the end of my service, and while all of that did happen, those are not the things that will remain close to my heart. What I’ll remember are the beautiful November days when I watched the students joyfully play in giant piles of leaves for hours. I’ll remember when I comforted a child at recreation time and helped her process her emotions, and when kids excitedly gave me a facetime house tour to show me their lives. I’ll remember how proud I was of a shy 6-year old when she got all her vocab words right. While I learned about education, my year of service has allowed me to learn more about humanity and myself. So many unimaginable things happened in the world this year, but we can still find the joy in the present and come together to build each other up.” Katharyn Loweth, Elementary Curriculum AmeriCorps Member

“My year of service as an AmeriCorps member with New American pathways has been such an incredible and eye-opening experience. The amazing thing about New AP is that I was given the opportunity to grow and experience all kinds of different aspects of the agency. Although my service was focused in helping volunteers with English at home, I found myself doing many different tasks like helping clients file taxes, falling in love with kids, and even helping a refugee student with their citizenship exam. I don’t know of a lot of places like New American Pathways. I moved a thousand miles away from where I’m from, but I’ve never felt more at home than I did during this service year. I couldn’t have imagined doing my service year anywhere else. I’m so glad I was blessed with the opportunity to experience so many new things and grow as a person this year. Thank you New AP!” – Sarah Clay, English at Home AmeriCorps Member

“I’ve learned that each day you serve, you have to make a personal decision to let your love for people shine. You show up not because you have to, but because you want to, even when days are hard. You know that adult clients trust you and look forward to your updates, and you know that the kids are looking forward to seeing your friendly smile and giving you a big hug. Your relationship with the people you serve impacts their growth and progress. New AP clients and students are some of the most beautiful, loving, and resilient human beings I have ever met. Diversity is a beautiful gift from God. And if people don’t see that, I encourage them to serve with an agency like New AP and they will be able to witness the beauty of cultures different than their own.” – Pam Swartz, Family Support Liaison AmeriCorps Member

“Being an AmeriCorps member serving with New American Pathways has been an eye-opening and amazing experience. I have had the opportunity to work with the most diverse group of coworkers so far in my professional career. It was a joy to engage with my coworkers who speak multiple languages, cook a diverse array of cuisines, have unique personalities. This is also true of the clients that I had the opportunity to serve, including our volunteers as the Volunteer Engagement AmeriCorps Member. The students I had the opportunity to tutor and mentor all were resilient, inspiring, joyous and wonderful to work with.  The volunteers that I on boarded to the organization were all very passionate and dedicated. Most importantly, I learned so much about myself while serving the organization. I learned much more about my strengths and weaknesses. I was challenged, given the opportunity to take risks, offer advice and be innovative. As someone who believes in a lifelong of service, I truly feel the I have been given the opportunity to serve and have made a difference in many lives while doing so. – Waduda Muhammad, Volunteer Engagement AmeriCorps Member.

“My year of AmeriCorps service has been one of the most meaningful experiences I have had. Working with a refugee population so hands on and early in my career is not something I thought I would have been able to do apart from this year of service. The work experience has been like no other. As the English at Home Client Coordinator I have had the unique opportunity to visit clients in their homes and connect them with not only English service but also other services at New AP that they need. I feel extremely fortunate that my AmeriCorps service was completed at New AP. This is fully credited to the kind and welcoming nature of all the staff. The experience and exposure that I have received during my service I will carry with me throughout my career. I have always been interested in global health but as I move on to pursue my MPH I now know I want to focus on refugee health. I will never forget my time serving with AmeriCorps.” Nisha Patel, English at Home AmeriCorps Member

AmeriCorps member have served over 500 adult clients and 167 students in the afterschool program this year. AmeriCorps Program Manager, Caitlin Barrow, has this to say about this year’s cohort:

“I have loved seeing the Project Rise AmeriCorps Members learn, grow and become advocates for Refugees and Immigrants during their 11 months at New American Pathways. During their service year they built strong relationships with the clients and kids they serve and help to make their transition to life in America much easier.  They also help to build the capacity of New American Pathways by bringing new and innovative ideas with them every year.  This creativity has been crucial in our transition to providing services virtually due to Covid-19 this spring. Our AmeriCorps Members have been integral in helping our clients who have been affected by the pandemic by assisting with health education, unemployment applications, virtual medical appointments, stimulus check support and virtual programming for all students in our afterschool program.”

Thank you Project Rise AmeriCorps Cohort! We are grateful for you and can’t wait to see what you all do next. You can learn more about our program here, or check out our open positions to apply to join the next Cohort.

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