When I first decided to do Americorps, I had spent months struggling to find a job. I had recently relocated to Little Rock and I was taking a break from grad school, so it was safe to say I was trying to find some direction in life. Eventually I came upon this position with Be Mighty and it seemed like a great opportunity to contribute to the Little Rock area. It became clear to me when I started, however, that this was a very different job than anything I’d done in the past. I didn’t really have experience with nonprofits or outreach, and the program itself was pretty unique. But the Be Mighty team as well as CALS staff were very helpful and understanding as I settled into the role.
The first few months, it felt like I was doing more self-educating than anything. We were attending virtual conferences and local events, and in my spare time I was researching food insecurity and distribution, trying to get myself up to speed. I quickly realized that my role as an Americorps VISTA was a great opportunity to learn a lot of new skills. I learned a lot about using WordPress, Canva, writing blog posts, conducting surveys, and the local issues we were fighting in the process.
My confidence grew as the year went on— I was getting more comfortable doing outreach, taking a leadership role in launching the Youth Task Force, writing and editing a newsletter, and even speaking in front of groups of teens with more ease. I accomplished a lot this year, too. Between surveying at programs and mealtimes, making connections with the community through outreach, delivering goods to our Little Free Pantries, and expanding the overall reach of the program, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be leaving Be Mighty better than I found it. Over this year, the Be Mighty team has made a concerted effort to connect more with local teens and parents, and I think the introduction of the Youth Task Force is a great example of our success in that. It’s been a privilege to work with this team, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
I’ve talked a lot about what I’ve done to grow Be Mighty, but Be Mighty has helped me grow a lot too. When I became a VISTA, I was still disenchanted by the job market and felt like I didn’t have much to offer on my resume. Now, I feel so much more prepared for my next step in my career. When I look at what I’ve done and learned over the past year, I feel like I finally have the tools to succeed in the workplace. My supervisors have been great mentors and I’ve had so much positive guidance, and the skills I’ve gained as a VISTA will stay with me for life. This year has brought so much change, and I’m grateful I got to spend it with Be Mighty.