AmeriCorps: Bringing Americans together to serve communities.
Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to dedicate my time and serve through AmeriCorps VISTA at Family Scholar House. AmeriCorps members partner with nonprofit organizations to tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges. For me, this was the homelessness crisis in Kentucky.
While serving through AmeriCorps and working full-time at their local nonprofits, members receive a living stipend equal to the poverty line in their respective communities. In Jefferson County, this amount is less than our minimum wage. This is done intentionally so that AmeriCorps members experience the poverty in which the people we serve are living.
Experiencing life at the poverty level gave me an entirely different perspective. It’s hard. Alongside our participants, I was learning to manage money, budget, and try to save for school. Not that I ever doubted our scholars’ resilience, but this gave me a whole new appreciation of everything they juggle in their daily lives. On top of financial planning, our scholars are also full-time students with children, many also working part-time. Nevertheless, they are still rock star students, and even better moms and dads.
So, the message I’m taking away from this experience is this: there are times in which it is unnecessarily difficult to make ends meet. After facing a lifetime of hardship, struggle, and discouragement, so many factors must align for an individual to realize success. That’s why the mission of Family Scholar House is so important. We touch virtually every aspect of our families’ lives, whether it be direct help from our own staff or connecting them to community resources. We want our scholars to be successful in every aspect of their lives, so we support them in every single way we can.
As my year of service and my time at Family Scholar House are coming to an end, I want to express my gratitude to AmeriCorps for this unique opportunity to serve my community. Thank you to the staff at FSH, who work relentlessly to end the cycle of generational poverty for families right here in Louisville. And thank you to our single mothers, fathers, and young adults, who have shown me that insurmountable feats do not exist, and the power of perseverance despite all odds.