Find The Pony! By Katie Bench
Name: Katie Bench
Profession: VISTA Services Manager (I coordinate all of the VISTA Projects across the St. Louis metro area)
University: Georgian Court University (undergrad) / University of Missouri St. Louis (grad school)
Major: B.A in Art and Holistic Health and a M.A in Nonprofit Management
Service Type: AmeriCorps VISTA
Service Dates: July 2007 – July 2014
Service Location: South Grand Senior Ministry in St. Louis, Missouri
Find the Pony!
That was my personal mantra during my 3 terms of service as a VISTA for the South Grand Senior Ministry in St. Louis. I heard the story below at my first event as a VISTA and it stuck with me.
There once was a good little boy in the Old Country. He was friendly to all that he saw, did his chores and was a pleasure to be around. This little boy’s one Christmas wish was to have a pony (mind you this was a country that ponies were a plenty, and wanting a pony did not make you snobbish). On Christmas morning the young lad sprang out of his bed and sprinted to his family’s barn. Upon entering the barn the boy squealed with delight when he saw an empty pen with a big PILE of Crap! He got a shovel and started scooping it up. The young boy’s parents found him whistling a toon while cleaning the pen. Puzzled the parents asked the boy why he was so happy. The boy replied if there is a pile of dung then a pony can’t be far behind!
Moral of the Story: Sometimes you have to go through a bunch of “Mississippi Mud” before you make it to your goal. The main thing to keep in mind is to focus on Finding the Pony instead of dwelling in the unpleasantness at hand.
I had a lot of ponies during my time in service and a lot of compost! I had presenters cancel on me the day of an event, bus drivers who got lost, lived without heat, had my car broken into twice and then lose it completely in a hit-and-run, canceled countless events that took days to plan and even disappointed a nun! That compost helped me grow so much since I first started out. I learned that what I may think is a good thing might not be what an older adult wants and the client is always right. I learned to take things in stride. I learned how to be a team leader. And I saw the powerful impact a year of service can have not only on yourself, but with your community!
My years of service led me on my life path of inspiring others to GIVE (in any way they can) and for that I am incredibly grateful!
See the silver lining with everything you do and Find Your Own Pony!