In a world where career paths often take unexpected turns, Wendy’s journey stands out as an inspiring example of resilience, adaptability, and a deep passion for serving the community. With a background in education and creative writing, Wendy found herself at a crossroads when her teaching career became financially unsustainable. Seeking a change and a chance to make a difference, she joined AmeriCorps, embarking on a new chapter of her life.
Wendy’s career path has been diverse, with a background in elementary education, and later transitioning to a career in teaching writing at Anoka Technical College. However, due to declining enrollment and personal circumstances, Wendy found herself seeking a change. She realized that she wanted to be more involved in her community. Wendy’s love for children and her desire to make a positive impact led her to Early Learning Corps.
One of the highlights of Wendy’s service experience has been working with children. As a member of Early Learning Corps, Wendy is involved in the High-Five program, which allows her to work with young students in the morning and in the childcare room in the afternoon. Wendy describes the interactions with the children as a blast and emphasizes the joy and excitement they bring to her day. “I love working with the kids when they are just so excited.” Her involvement with music even led to a child being recommended for music therapy. “I brought my viola and a child-sized violin for several weeks, and one of my students loved playing, and that eventually led to this child being recommended to be evaluated for music therapy, which she’s now getting. It’s really cool.”
Drawing from her own experiences, Wendy offers valuable advice to those considering joining Early Learning Corps or any similar service program. She emphasizes the importance of establishing relationships with both staff and students, as these connections are crucial for effective service. She also encourages individuals to be patient with themselves during the initial learning curve and to approach their service with an open mind.
Wendy also recommends taking advantage of alternative service opportunities to meet other volunteers and gain new experiences. “I ended up stepping in at the Minneapolis School Districts materials center to disassemble Legos after all the classes had competed in a Lego competition. I had great conversations with other service people, which was cool.”
Looking ahead, Wendy plans to use the education award she earned through service to support her child’s graduate school tuition. As part of AmeriCorps, members 55+ can gift their award to their child, grandchild, foster child, or stepchild. The opportunity to financially support her child is a significant milestone for Wendy, and she expresses gratitude for the chance to make a difference in her child’s life, “I have not been able to do anything like that financially for my kids before, so it’s kind of a big deal for me. I’m very thankful.”
While Wendy is already planning to return for another term of service, more Early Learning Corps tutors are still needed for the 2023-24 school year. Visit join.readingandmath.org to learn about the opportunities available in your community. Apply by August 9, 2023, to begin supporting students in the fall!