Friday, June 6, 2014

The Waiting Game Part 2 - A Summer of Anticipation


Jake working on a gardening project in his backyard.
My name is Jake and I currently live in Maryland. I was invited to serve with the AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest Region in Denver, Colorado. I recently graduated from Arcadia University (Glenside, PA) with a degree in psychology, and I have one more course I’m partaking in from May 25 to June 05, where I will be traveling to Sierra Leone in Western Africa to investigate some of the issues the youth there are facing in the post-conflict life.

I started thinking about AmeriCorps about two years ago, when I was abroad in Dunedin, NZ after spending some time volunteering at a plant nursery and taking a Human Geography course. These experiences made me think more about how I could give back to local communities in need. It’s important to me to be able to take some of the skills I’ve learned through my time abroad and at Arcadia University and use them to help others in need.

I’m pretty keen about beginning the upcoming service term, and perhaps a little anxious about it, with not knowing a lot of the information of where we’ll go and work. I think that is part of the excitement though, and not knowing will make it that much more fun. What I’m looking forward to the most is the training and meeting a group of people that come from different backgrounds, but have similar goals who will work together as a unit to help communities. I reckon I’ll gain a better sense of what sector of public health I would like to focus on in graduate school. I’m interested in epidemiology and global public health and I think this could help funnel down what I am more interested in. I should have a better idea of what communities in the Southwest of the United States are in need of as well through serving. I’ve never been to the area that we are serving, which will allow me to compare similarities and differences to other areas that I’ve lived. I can adapt some of those differences into my lifestyle to make me a better person.

The plan for the months before travelling to Colorado in October were set originally for me to travel to Sierra Leone and then return to Maryland, where I work at a local restaurant and frequently mountain bike and kayak. However this changed on May 2nd when I was biking and broke my scaphoid bone in my right wrist. I had surgery on May 15th, which was the day before I graduated from Arcadia University. I’m seeing this as a minor challenge to overcome and trying to find new things to do around my area. I’ve been spending a lot of time catching up on reading. Currently I am reading “The Cobra Event” by Richard Preston. I plan on reading as many of Michael Crichton and Richard Preston’s books as I can, now that I have time to read books other than textbooks after graduating. I’ve been enjoying gardening at home and walking to the park near my house. When my wrist has recovered more I want to help with trail maintenance at a park near Baltimore, MD called “Patapsco State Park”, where I frequently hike and bike.

If you would like more information about AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps, or are interested in applying, please visit: www.nationalservice.gov/nccc or email anccc@cns.gov.
 
Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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