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“Of course there’s the cliché statement of “I have grown so much” or “AmeriCorps has prepared me for so and so,” but really the most valuable part of serving with people is that it has enhanced who I am. I realized what type of person I want to be not only moving forward into the professional world but as a whole.”

Leondra Fair
Leondra Fair

I decided to join AmeriCorps for many reasons. I wanted professional experience, I wanted to feel important, I wanted the stipend, insurance and school award. I had no idea what the service really entailed other than foreclosure and I probably didn’t really give it much thought. Looking back now on the reasons I chose to join was understandably reasonable at that time. After serving almost a year in AmeriCorps, I think that it would be a waste in so many ways to move forward in my life with thoughts centered primarily on what will benefit me. I found that there is so much I could do to contribute to relieving a lot of the hidden burdens people have.

My experience as an AmeriCorps member has been a wildly unexpected chain of profit, advantages and rewards. I say unexpected because I gained a lot of wisdom and maturity from the amazing people that I serve with and those that I assist. Of course there’s the cliché statement of “I have grown so much” or “AmeriCorps has prepared me for so and so,” but really the most valuable part of serving with people is that it has enhanced who I am. I realized what type of person I want to be not only moving forward into the professional world but as a whole.

It’s been a struggle in marrying self and service. It feels like neither is complete unless one vanishes. It has become a worthwhile struggle that has resulted in a person who has learned that she wants to be a person that is on time, does what she says she’s going to do, won’t complain, practices integrity and more importantly gives 100% to her craft. These are the virtues that have been modeled before me. It’s becoming the meat and potatoes that build my strong foundation of self with material benefits becoming the broth that keeps everything happily moving, and the hard work acting as the salt to bring out the flavor of character and wisdom.

I have been fortunate and honored to work with people in saving homes. To be introduced to real life pitfalls and being immersed into people’s personal lives is a tremendous responsibility. This AmeriCorps opportunity has shown me what life is all about, a tiring euphoria of creative service.

Leondra Fair is an AmeriCorps member at Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids.

This post is part of a blog series highlighting the viewpoints of Michigan AmeriCorps Foreclosure Prevention Corps members serving at different foreclosure host sites around Michigan. View information about the program or see more stories in this series.

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