by Curtis Leitch
I can’t believe that it has already been half a year since I began working with AmeriCorps and Kid Power! Time definitely seems to pass more expediently as the years go by; moreover, the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” rings true regarding my time as an AmeriCorps member. The work is challenging at times and there are many difficult days; however, my collective time working with Kid Power through AmeriCorps has been an amazing experience.
Our awesome AmeriCorps Members!
If I were to have told you that I thought I would be working with an educational non-profit six months ago, I would have been lying to you. Did I ponder the idea of teaching at one point while I was in college? Yes. Did I ponder the idea of working with non-profits and NGO’s? Yes. Did I ponder the idea of working with AmeriCorps? Yes. Did I think I would be working with an after-school program in Washington, DC via AmeriCorps? No. I have never prescribed to the idea that everything happens for a reason, however, I see the phrase’s appeal, for I love my work and I would like to think that I am supposed to be here at this given point in my life.
People ask me all the time what it’s like to work with AmeriCorps. To be completely honest, my time as an AmeriCorps member will be vastly different from other members because our community is so large and diverse. There’s the National Civilian Community Corps, FEMA Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps State and National. AmeriCorps members work in different sectors all throughout the nation; therefore, one person’s experience can be dramatically different than someone else’s year of service. Although we have different jobs and contribute in different ways, AmeriCorps members all share one thing in common: helping others in need and strengthening our communities.
To answer the aforementioned question that I am often asked, I work as an Academic Consultant for Kid Power via the State and National Program. The title of “Academic Consultant” is seemingly official, but I can assure you that I am the furthest thing from what you are envisioning. I like toting the title of Academic Consultant in the signature line of my e-mails; however, I really just get to act like a kid, which suits me well as I am a child at heart. My job is to create abstract engaging activities that are outside of the box for the students we work with (I predominately work with elementary school students). Moreover, I try to think of ways to teach students academic and citizenship lessons, while keeping their attention and advancing their knowledge.
I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I work in an office all day. I enjoy visiting the students that we work with on a weekly basis. I not only get to help students for the latter half of the day during our programming hours, I get to see what parts of my curriculum works and what doesn’t. I take and internalize what I learn every day and incorporate it into future lessons. I have also taught in our after-school classrooms; gone rowing with students on the Anacostia River; taken students to Georgetown Day and Sidwell Friends School for tutoring; taken students to meet their pen-pals at Delta Towers Senior Living Community; met with community organizations and universities to form new partnerships; and co-organized a service project on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Over 100 MLK Day of Service students and volunteers!
I love working with all of my co-workers. I love the open and inviting environment that I work in. I love creating curriculum and getting to channel my inner child. I love going to schools and helping out in the classroom. I love seeing the smiles on all of our students’ faces. I love working as an AmeriCorps Member (okay the money situation living in DC on an AmeriCorps salary isn’t the greatest, but everything else is great). I love working with Kid Power, Inc. and all of the great work they do. Overall, I really and truly do love my current situation and I couldn’t ask for anything more during this point in my life.