[Today is the last day for our AmeriCorps contributor, Cassidhe. Sniff sniff.]
I once heard my housemate tell a mutual friend, “It’s hard for us to take Cassidhe’s job seriously sometimes. The other day she stopped by our house with a pop-bottle Christmas tree in the back of an Emergency Response Vehicle.”
That would be the time our AmeriCorps team banded together to win the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Christmas on the Grand “Best in Show” Award.
…or the month we had an air-hockey tournament during our breaks.
…or the lunch breaks in which we played “Yes, and …”, our own idea-building version of brainstorming.
…or the time we winterized the gardens of the senior community center in Holland, planting more tulips than I knew were possible.
…or the afternoon I hid behind walls while operating a talking fire truck to the delight of neighborhood children.
…or the 3am phone call asking us to help out with casework for a fire at an apartment complex.
…or the CPR class in which we practiced chest compressions to the song ‘Stayin’ Alive.”
Of course, there were also those moments when I stared on the computer screen, trying to figure out what to type next and how to solve the problem: the days the office seemed too small a building for the enormity of life.
AmeriCorps is a 10 1/2 month commitment, and in those 10 1/2 months, we get the chance to participate in many facets of Red Cross work. I’ve responded to house fires through our Disaster Action Team, co-presented classes about fire safety, attended community events, brainstormed fund-raising ideas for the Measles Initiative, and presented about International Disaster Relief in Haiti.
These activities have given me a fuller grasp of the Red Cross’ work and have helped me to develop necessary professional skills. I’ve appreciated these opportunities, but as I finish my term today, that’s not what I’m celebrating.
I’m celebrating the extraordinary people I’ve had the chance to serve with – the volunteers and staff at the Red Cross, and my fantastic fellow AmeriCorps. At our farewell breakfast this morning, one AmeriCorps said that the sense of community and teamwork is something that he will take with him to future jobs and plans. And I agree. I wrote cards to each of my co-workers thanking them for different parts of who they are, and I had no trouble thinking of things to write. This has been a community of dedicated, creative, passionate, and supportive people. Our teamwork taught me how to brainstorm collectively, build on each others’ strengths, and re-imagine community.
I think this picture pretty much sums it up.
Thanks for coming along for the ride,
[For more information about serving with AmeriCorps and the Red Cross, click here.]