A First Opportunity

21 Oct

Lots of new updates for the fall of my senior year, and I can barely keep them all straight! I debated whether or not to blog about this employment opportunity, but the more I think about it, the more I agree that taking a step in faith can only be a good thing. Upon graduation, which is May 18th by the way, I plan to commit to two years of service. Now this is pretty silly considering that I owe a truck-load in student loans, and probably won’t make much more than minimum wage, less in most cases, doing some pretty difficult work, and may be away from my family. But I’m oddly okay with that. I’ve been doing missions work for the past three summers, and I’ve been in Westerville at Otterbein University for the last four years. If it’s one thing I’ve learned while I’ve been away at school, it’s that I have a servant’s heart. So I’m going to serve. Now all of the professionals out there are shaking their heads and unfollowing my blog now, but that’s okay. Because I hope that those of you who are still out there are excited about my new adventures in service, wherever they may be.

My first opportunity is with Teach for America, a nonprofit organization devoted to changing the education system in America. You may not know it, but my mom has been teaching high school mathematics for 26 years. (26!) She teaches at the school I graduated from, and I’m happy to say that she is the only teacher I have ever had who kicked me out of her class. That’s a whole different story, but don’t worry, it worked out okay in the end.  Teach for America gives the opportunity to anyone who has a Bachelor’s Degree to give back to a rural or urban community in an impoverished area, mostly in low-income school districts and communities. Thankfully, I know what that’s like. Here is an excerpt of only part of my application:

I grew up in a small town of less than 3000 people, a farming community without many farms, a tobacco town, without much tobacco. The school district I graduated from has more than 70 percent of students on the free/reduced lunch program, and I know several families without running water. In my work through the summers, I have volunteered in the mountains of Appalachia and the desert of Mexico doing missions work in the most destitute of areas in North America. As I graduated and moved to Westerville, Ohio, I learned that even the most suburban of communities often have an unseen need. I spent my final summer as a college student researching summer lunch programs in the United States and dedicated my honors thesis to helping create sustainable, successful sites for children to receive hot lunches for free. I am aware that sometimes, it is the only meal they have access to all day. My experience with predominately low-income communities has been up-close and personal. Thankfully, I have never wanted for much of anything, and I have been blessed to receive a collegiate education. I have learned that while poverty does exist, there is a solution. That solution is education. An education, even through the high school level, acts as a sword and shield in the fight against poverty, and I believe that once students are empowered to change their situation, their circumstance, that education is the logical step toward change in America. Before that change can occur, though, there must be a change in education. I hope to take those first steps in change and work with Teach for America.

I hope that gives you cold chills, because I know it starts a fire in my heart. I am fully aware that the Teach for America application process is intimidating, to say the least. The organization is known for the full vetting of its hires, and I look forward to seeing how I match up. Did I go to school for education? No. Did I want to be a teacher at one time? A little. Do I know anything about standing in front of a classroom of students and teaching? Not particularly. Do I want to impact education and create real change? Yes, of course!  So this is my step in faith. If it’s God’s plan for me to be in a classroom, He will put me there. If that’s not His plan, see my next blog for A Second Opportunity, or maybe A Third Opportunity, etc. I know there is a plan, and because of the fire in my heart, this is how I’m going to chase after it.

I’ll step off of my soapbox for now. Enjoy this beautiful fall evening!


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