Journal

March Summary

“Keep marching on,” ironically was my mantra for the month of March. Probably the most challenging month for me while in AmeriCorps because a lot of questions regarding what is next for me arrived at the forefront of my brain, as well a project I wasn’t totally jazzed about. Being on the go for 8 to 9 months straight by the time I was in March was starting to catch up to me, but marching on I did because as each day passes I come closer my time with AmeriCorps is down to 1 month.

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Traveling to Memphis from D.C kickstarted the month. I was going to be joining my original team with a project they had started back in February as I was with another team working in Washington D.C. The project I was walking into was with The United Way preparing taxes for the Memphis and surrounding communities. Although there is always good in the work that I’ve been doing this year with AmeriCorps NCCC, I often question what the point is for some of the tasks and projects we are assigned to do. There was a lot of sitting around and most often in deserted malls with no windows. It sucked away all my energy away and gave me back problems. Too young for that. Coming in late to project was also bit of a challenge for me because it never felt like it was my project. Because of that I lost interest and motivation which was hard to muster through.

Now looking at the experience with a glass half full approach; it was good for me to learn the process of preparing taxes for my own use. Understanding the different forms and what is needed to successfully prepare taxes was a learning experience for me. Also, working with the people you are impacting face-to-face gave me an instant understanding of how much this free tax preparation service helped the individuals.

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After the 2 weeks I was in Memphis, my team and I packed up and started off on a 2-day travel journey to Trenton, NJ, which would be the last stop to our 10-month journey. Up North we would working with an organization called HomeFront whose mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey. For the majority of April that is where I will be. Projects to help the organization are still to be determined.

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We arrived on a Thursday and have already hit the ground running! Orientation was on a Friday and then that Saturday I found myself in New York City. Looking out on the skyline as we drove into Newark Penn Station I felt like I was arriving home. On my 9th month of AmeriCorps I am happy to say I had found a way back to a city that makes me feel happy, energized, and adventurous! While there I had to do and eat all of my favorite things in the city. Easy to say but hard to do.

After walking a total of 10.8 miles (New Yorker pace) I’d say I accomplished most of what I wanted to do that day. Some included my favorite pizza and ice cream shops, seeing a college friend, and soaking up the city’s energy and sun. It was great for me to start of the last month of AmeriCorps NCCC in a place that I feel understands me most. Now I am re-energized and ready to take on the last month of 10. As we all know……time flies.

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Shannon Looney