We asked the entire national service community to share their #ChangedbyService stories. Here’s a great submission from Robyn Wardell on how her year of service with FoodCorps impacted her life and the community she served:
Where and why did you serve?
I served with FoodCorps in Flint, MI from 2011-2012. I was inspired to serve with FoodCorps because it allowed me to serve at the intersection of health equity, racial equity, experiential education and environmental justice.
What kind of impact did you have?
As a service member I helped get the right community members in the room together to talk to one another and offered the catalyst they needed to start work they’d been wanting to do but didn’t have the capacity to get off the ground on their own. I built gardens that are still there, hosted cooking classes that made light bulbs go off, inspired kids by giving them real responsibility and trusting them, and showed people that I cared. In a place that’s under-resourced, it’s important help those kids feel and know that they matter.
How has your service changed you?
My service has made me a more self aware and socially aware person. I more fully understand the privileges I take with me when I walk into a room and the power dynamic that creates, so I listen deeply first and foremost. I more fully understand how schools function and what my students were up against so that I can better advocate for more just systems. I also came to really believe that change and leadership has to come from within communities to make a lasting difference.
Is it important to you that others have similar service opportunities available to them?
Yes! Not only am I a better person, I’m a more qualified person in the working world. I grew so much through my service experience and am very aware that it was a privilege to be able to move to a new part of the country and live on a stipend in order to have that experience. Everyone I know who has gone through AmeriCorps has come out more well-rounded and equipped to work effectively to make the world a better place.