“Keep marching on,” was my mantra for this month. This felt like the most challenging month for me while in AmeriCorps for a multitude of reasons. Some were the challenges of disconnecting, running low on energy and the impending “what’s next,” pushing its way to the forefront of my brain. Being on the go for 8 to 9 months straight, was starting to catch up to me, but “keep marching on” I say.
Traveling to Memphis from D.C kickstarted the month. I was going to be joining my original team with a project they had started in February as I was with my composite team working with the ALVAINA Foundation. Delta 4’s (my original team) project was with The United Way preparing taxes for the city of Memphis and the surrounding communities. Although there is always good in the work that I’ve been doing this year with AmeriCorps NCCC, I often questioned what the reason for some of the tasks we are assigned to do. While in Memphis, there was a lot of sitting around in deserted malls with no windows to look out of. Sunless days can suck all your energy away. Additionally, coming in late to project was a challenge for me because it never felt like it was my project. Because of those challenges, I lost interest and motivation, making it harder to muster through the 3 weeks.
Now looking at the experience, a glass half full approach; it was good for me to learn the process of preparing taxes for my own use in the future. Understanding the different forms and what is needed to prepare taxes was a learning experience for me. Also, seeing the impact I was making by working with the community face-to-face gave me an instant understanding of how much a free tax preparation service elevated stress and helped the individuals.
After the 3 weeks that I was in based in Memphis, my team and I packed up and started off on a 2-day travel journey to Trenton, NJ aka which the last stop to our 10-month adventure. 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 was stationed.
We arrived on a Thursday and hit the ground running! Orientation was on a Friday and then that Saturday I so happily found myself in New York City.
NYC has been a home for me for the past 2 year and it was where I was before starting AmeriCorps NCCC. It was happy to be returned home!
Looking out on the skyline as we drove into Newark to Penn Station I felt a peaceful sense of homecoming. 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 (shout out AllyCat!), and soaking up the city’s energy and sun. It was great for me to start off 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.