My role as a service member in AmeriCorps allows me to work at and with the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. I work closely with the Director of Mission Outreach and community partners throughout the Des Moines Metro Area, such as Metro Kids and the YMCA, to provide STEM, art, and Girl-orientated programming by facilitating after-school and summer clubs called Girl Scout Clubs. I created STEM-related and artistic activities, and some just ate cookies! I also facilitated majority clubs to expand Girl Scouts programming to Girls that may not be able to be in a traditional troop.
My greatest accomplishment is that I can physically experience learning and fun through different creative mediums for children from a range of ages through fun things like making marshmallow towers to learning chromatography with paper towels and colorful markers! I have seen Girls who are very shy in the first meeting to very verbal and confident at last in just FIVE weeks. Even though I only go for one hour a week for five weeks, I know that Girl Scout Club is something they look forward to every week, and they are truly sad if they miss a week and can't participate in the activities.
The greatest lesson I've learned is to push myself out of my comfort zone to gain new experiences. I haven't had experience in non-profit work that required me to be a part of outreach within the community, which is a reason for service learning and internships. I previously had experience in healthcare and non-profit in admin, where I didn't interact with children within schools as an adult. But I love that I have influence and can foster an environment where Girls can be comfortable, confident, and learn.
What advice would you give?
To embrace change and not be afraid to do something new. I was the kid that learned about myself in afterschool programs because of the mentors in college that I had. I wanted to pay that forward to children now because something that always stuck with me was, "You may not be able to change the world, but you might change someone else's world".