Hometown:  Memphis, TN

Service Term:  August 2012- August 2013

Service Project Description:  VISTA – School of Education at the University of Mississippi.

Here at the University of Mississippi I work to create service learning and sustainable volunteer opportunities with the School of Education. We currently are participating in several research projects to show growth in Mississippi’s educational proficiency, annual school drives both in monetary and in- kind donations, host tutoring programs facilitated by the School of Education, as well as preparing FAFSA workshops creating a positive motivational dialogue between university students and college bound high school seniors.

Why I joined:  Growing up I was often told by my father that “You are here (on earth) for the benefit of other people, not yourself.” For many years I never quite understood that quote. I was raised within a bubble and all of my needs and wants were always met. However, it was required that every summer I volunteer. This was my foundation in developing compassion and empathy for those that may or may not be like myself.

The most memorable summer was 2003 in Indianapolis, IN. I worked at a clinic where several doctors work pro-bono to give checkups for all the surrounding public/free summer camps. Dentist, ophthalmologist, and pediatricians worked tirelessly providing medicine to many underprivileged children; who would not have gotten it otherwise.  To see those adults with such a sense of duty in the provision heath care created an important sense of responsibility that has since grown in me.

I learned quickly that the impact of improving the quality of life for someone else also greatly improved my own. So naturally, I as an adult I sought to make a difference as it pertained to the improvement of ALL people.

AmeriCorps VISTA is that direct connection to my passion of helping others on the administrative level. I now have the ability to improve educational programs, develop volunteer opportunities, and lead people to the ultimate goal of working together for the betterment of each other.

Interesting Fact:  In 2011 I was asked to participate by MTVU in The White House Commencement Challenge where several schools from all over America competed in a video contest. The contest was to show visually within 3 minutes time why President Obama should come speak at your high school graduation. I was requested to help with production and filming with the Booker T Washington High School in Memphis, TN.

That April of 2011 after video submission I received a call that the video we made was handpicked by the President himself.

This was quite possibly the most fulfilling moment of my life. Most importantly, I knew that I was able to provide a platform on a national level to show their strength of adversity in an urban neighborhood. Also, that the least among us has the potential to be the greatest!