most of this is my obsession amethyst
In 2004/05 I was paid by the federal government as an Americorps VISTA volunteer to work as a community organizer. I feel sad that some people lately are belittling the experiences of people who just want to make their communities better places to live.
As a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), I served at Habitat for Humanity, one of the most successful community organizing groups on the planet. I designed and oversaw the printing of new marketing materials that were used to recruit businesses to fund and supply volunteers for the building of new homes for low income families. You can see some of my designs here.
I felt privlidged to be giving my time and talent back to my community and helping families. Serving as a VISTA helped me as well. At the time I joined, I had been living in Dallas for a year and a half and had not been able to find a full time permanent job. I was at the height of despair and the lowest of funds. I was in danger of being evicted from my apartment. I will be forever grateful that I found VISTA. Even though I received only $867 a month as a stipend, the job provided me with stability and a steady income. At the end of my year of service, I received a grant which I used to pay down my student loan. Without that grant I don’t know how I would have been able to keep up with my payments.
I hope that our elected officials will realize that funding community organizing is not pork barrell spending and will keep such a worthy progam as Americorps. I hope people will realize that working as a community organizer is a worthy profession that builds compassion for other people, confidence, and leadership skills. I am proud to have my year of service on my resume.