As Kelly, one of our superstar AmeriCorps members this year, completes her first quarter at HIP, she reflects on her experience so far.
I’ve been with with HIP for 3 months now, and for those of you who don’t know, 3 months is a milestone in Americorps time. I’m already a third of the way done with my service term, and I’ve finally hit my groove here at HIP. I’ve become a pro at packing our Healthy HIP Packs, facilitating dialogue in our cooking classes, making sure we have all the right food items and amounts for our packs, and even breaking down all those pesky apple boxes!
Around this time I was told that members typically reflect on their decision to be an Americorps member, and sometimes regret settles in. I brushed off that comment because I felt content and happy at the time. But that comment has been bothering me. Do I regret forgoing a nice paying job for a yearlong service term with a small stipend? Is this service term worth all the long hours of work and struggles of commuting? Do I regret seeing my friends and family making more money in a week than I do in a month? Do I feel like I’m making an impact in the community?
Some of you may not know about what happens at HIP behind the scenes. There are days where I find myself caught in the gloom and doom of the storage room for hours on end taking inventory, repacking HIP Packs with busted bags or exploded applesauce packs, making sure all the allergy packs are correctly labeled and packed, and quadruple checking the numbers and types of HIP Packs for each school, all the while emerging from the storage room and finding out I’ve been down there for over 4 hours and it’s time to go home.
But then there are days where we taste test creative new recipes for HIP Packs, wear pear costumes and take photoshoots for promo material, eat all the leftovers from Senior Meals, see the enthusiastic faces of students when they have an ‘aha!’ moment in cooking class, and spend hours talking with our many wonderful volunteers with so many different stories and experiences!
So my answer? All the fun I’ve had here at HIP–all the people I’ve met and experiences and skills I’ve learned both professionally and personally–I would say it’s all totally worth it.