Nicole, Oakland, CA

To me, public services hjumpstart,human services,volunteer opportunities, volunteer experience, education servicesave always liked felt like the foundation of any community, supporting individuals to thrive despite social, educational, economic and other disparities. As both a recipient and provider of services, I feel drawn to these efforts. I have been fortunate to work with several organizations whose missions align with my passion, and I am building a truly a fulfilling life path for myself along the way.

My first adventure in human services was working in a teaching group in Oakland, California for the AmeriCorps’s program Jumpstart. Jumpstart is a national early education organization serving preschool children in underserved neighborhoods. Its mission is to help children develop language and literacy skills in preparation for kindergarten and beyond. Over two years of service I worked as a practitioner of educational services as well as a group organizer to include the community in our educational endeavors.

Some of the most rewarding moments with my Jumpstart class were witnessing students engage with their parents through their education. Helping my students display schoolwork to their parents or share a book they read with them was very satisfying. Pick-up time became a sort of show-and-tell for the things students learned that day. Parents are truly children’s foremost educators, and having students link their formal education with them was tangibly accomplishing Jumpstart’s mission.

My utmost goal in my service with Jumpstart was to foster a sense of competence in all of my students. Every effort as a corpsmember – from instruction to parental contact to community programs – was to help students feel empowered in their own education. In turn, my service and my students empowered me to put my skills and interests to best use: to henceforth maximize resources for non-profit organizations. It became clearer to me that my life’s work should be to organize operations to provide the best services to the greatest amount of people. I am now working on this mission as a career by promoting leadership, organizational sustainability and community engagement. I thank Jumpstart for an amazing service experience and I thank my students for all of their hard work and optimism.