A Summer in Service: Reflections from 2022 Be Mighty Summer AmeriCorps Associates

Group photo after the goodbye lunch for the 2022 Summer Associates. Pictured from left to right; Fran, Isaac, Jasmine, Josh S., Katie, Josh M., Ash, and Garrett.

For 10 weeks from May-July, four AmeriCorps Associates served with Be Mighty Little Rock. After a successful first summer in 2021, the Be Mighty team was eager to welcome new members for 2022. Each Associate was housed at a different branch across the Central Arkansas Library System.

  • Frances Delacey served at the Terry Library
  • Isaac Jimenez served at the Dee Brown Library
  • Joshua Murdock served at the Main Library
  • Joshua Stallings served at the McMath Library

The Associates facilitated Be Mighty projects at each of their branches. These projects included distributing USDA meals for kids & teens, participating in community outreach, expanding the Little Free Pantry program, developing grab & go activities, and conducting garden & nutrition education programs.

Below you can read more about each Associate’s experience in their own words…

Frances Delacey – Terry Library

My experience with AmeriCorps was absolutely amazing! I would definitely recommend to anyone to take part in an AmeriCorps term, as I learned a lot about service and being an active member of my community. My perspective of volunteerism changed in that it has been enhanced due to be so immersed in a community effort. I learned that food poverty is everywhere this summer. My library is across the street from multimillion dollar homes, a golf course, country club, and private school, yet my branch was one of the most active for mealtimes. My greatest takeaway is what I learned about solving issues of food poverty. My favorite part was getting to paint, fill, and manage the little free pantry at my branch. This will impact my future in that I will be more active in solving food insecurity in whatever community I call home. 

Isaac Jimenez – Dee Brown Library

Being a Be Mighty Associate has been a wonderful learning experience. Through Be Mighty I have learned how to be a more active member in my community and more ways that I can get involved. I have grown as an employee as well as a person because of my experience as an Associate. All the people I worked with inspired me to do more, seeing others passionate about making a difference and working towards that goal is a great motivator. Everyone at Be Mighty was easy to get along with and great at communicating and getting others engaged in the expansive list of programs Be Mighty has available. This is an experience I would recommend to anyone and is a great opportunity to grow and help others.

Joshua Murdock – Main Library

I have had an enjoyable experience with AmeriCorps. I am glad that I worked for them because I know whenever I need a job, I can always find one with them. My perspective on service did not change much, it enhanced what I already knew about service. Which is, service is not about serving myself but others. 

Throughout this summer I worked at the Main Branch in Downtown Little Rock. And I was around a lot of unsheltered people. It helped me realize how blessed I am to have what I have. This position helped me learn to be grateful for what I have. I also learned that the library has been feeding these people for years, and I am glad I was a part of that. 

My greatest takeaway would be seeing the regular patrons that would come in on level four daily. I am glad to have been part of these young people’s lives, and I hope I had an impact on them. I am also glad to have met all the unsheltered people as well, I really learned how to respect other’s opinion and lifestyles even if it different from my own. All these things were good but being able to check out as much manga as I wanted was so much fun. The library had books I did not even know existed, they also got in some newer manga as well. It really helped my creativity when producing my own stories. 

Going forward, I learned that no matter where I am at in life, I can always meet people on their level and help them however I can. Whether that is through volunteering my time to serve meals, mentor kids, inspire creativity in others, etc… This summer has helped me see my goals as achievable and not just some kind of foolish dream. 

Joshua Stallings – McMath Library

Working with AmeriCorps was an experience that was surprisingly multifaceted; it was a bundle of educational, humbling, and entertaining all at once. The variety of positions to apply and choose from through AmeriCorps is definitely a reason I would recommend it. It offers variety to anyone who has time they need to fill. It is an excellent way to engage within a community and take a few new skills or perspectives with you.  

I found this experience extremely educational as I discovered cool hobbies I would like to pursue going forward, such as gardening and beekeeping. I’ve also picked up a few good recipes that I will be using in the future. Fresh salsa, easy homemade pickles, watermelon salad, and more. I think this work has made me more aware of all the fresh goodies that can be picked up at a local farmer’s market and have inspired me to support local growers. 

Thank you, Associates! The Be Mighty Team is grateful for your spirit, dedication, and passion for service.