Why were you interested in joining our AmeriCorps program at AHS? My primary interests when looking for a new job were to incorporate art in my day-to-day living and to help others through that process. When I interviewed for my current position, I knew it was where I wanted to be. The entire office is covered in artwork made by the clients, the walls are bursting with color, everyone was so welcoming right away and my (at the time, eventual) supervisor was also a huge advocate of using art and creative exploration as a way to heal. Everything just clicked in such a serendipitous sort of way and I’m forever grateful for that.
What motivates you as the Community Support Group Facilitator? I think what motivates me the most is knowing that my actions, support and kindness can make a world of difference for a client. If I’ve catalyzed a happy thought, a smile or a moment of laughter for any one person during the day then I feel as though I’ve made a difference. I think that positive energy is infectious and I always try and emulate positivity in my groups and around the office. An encouraging word or thoughtful compliment always has the possibility to turn someone’s bad day into a good one.
If you could describe your AmeriCorps experience so far in one word or phrase, what would it be? An everlasting impression, in the best of ways.
What do you hope to give to the clients you serve? Understanding, patience, kindness. Gratitude for their presence, thoughts, creativity. Admiration for their continually active choice to work on healing through participation in community support groups. Above all else, I strive to give them the knowledge that they always have someone who will always, always advocate for them.
What impact do the clients you serve have on you? My clients consistently inspire me. Each one has such shown such exemplary kindness and generosity towards others and that resonates deeply within me every day. Our community is vibrant and each person brings their own experiences, personality and skills to the support groups. I love seeing the day-to-day interactions between our clients – stories exchanged and friendships forming, daily healing through community support. We all teach and learn from each other. I learn something new from my clients every day and, with that, brings growth and perspective.
What are you most proud of so far in your service year? My growth, especially over the last few months. The beginning of my service year was overwhelming, and I think it took a little bit of time for me to adjust to a new environment. I put in a lot of hard work and had an endless amount of support from my co-workers & supervisor. I finally hit my stride and was able to flourish as a facilitator for Community Support Groups. I learned that, sometimes, the toughest challenges can lead to the most rewarding and lush adventures. I’m so thankful for all the adventures my service year has given me and I’m looking forward to the ones yet to come.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? John’s Boy Pizza. I miss NY/NJ pizza-by-the-slice daily.
If you could go back in time, what year or period would you travel to and why? I don’t have one time period in mind, but if I had my own time machine or DeLorean (one can dream), I’d love to travel back to iconic concerts. My first musical love was Nirvana and I’d love to witness their MTV Unplugged performance. And how incredible would it be to see James Brown at the Boston Garden on April 5th, 1968? Freddie Mercury belt out “Hammer to Fall” at Live Aid? The Band’s “Last Waltz” performance, a show on Daft Punk’s Alive tour – the list goes on.
What is your favorite holiday and why? Halloween. I love the atmosphere, the cool crisp autumn air, pumpkin carving, ghost stories, endless amounts of candy and horror film screenings at the Logan Theatre all month long.
Founded in 1978, AHS is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping people become healthy, educated and employed. We serve all who seek our help, with special expertise in the challenges facing refugees, immigrants and other underserved communities in the greater Chicago area.
INFO: (773) 293-8430 / CRISIS: (773) 293-8488
4753 North Broadway, Suite 700 Chicago, IL 60640-4995