From the Blog
Last Friday, I emceed Minnesota’s 20th anniversary AmeriCorps celebration at the Mall of America. More than 1,000 AmeriCorps members, alums, fans, and friends gathered in MOA’s rotunda – a space often reserved for Jennifer Lawrence and the Hunger Games cast or One Direction. But they were stuck with me. And what made me so special that I would be chosen as master of ceremonies? That’s just it: nothing.
I know I made a difference in the lives of the kids I encountered, serving in a Head Start preschool classroom, working to develop the necessary social and emotional skills kids need to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. I also know I’m not the only one. In Minnesota this year alone, more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members, aged 17 to 75, are serving in communities, connecting with young people, and getting things done for America. I took the stage as their proxy, representing the ordinary people committing themselves to do extraordinary things during their year in service.
In the upcoming weeks you can get to know NYLC’s 2014 – 2016 Youth Advisory Council through the blog series: Meet the YAC. We believe you will enjoy getting to know this outstanding group of young people, just as much as we do.
Chelsi McFarland is a high school senior from Pearland, TX, and she is passionate about social change and advancing youth voice and leadership. Her passion stems from a desire to better her peers: “I have a passion for motivating my peers to become the best versions of themselves by encouraging them to take full advantage of the plethora of opportunities around them.” This sort of passion for the development of others by means of self-realization is inspirational.
What a great day for national service! It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures.
Last month I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to attend the Shinnyo-en Foundation’s annual retreat. The Foundation is a long standing partner to NYLC and the National Service-Learning Conference, as well as a strong advocate for service-learning. The Foundation hosts the retreat each year in order to provide a very meaningful opportunity to connect with people in the fields of service-learning and youth development as well as to think deeply about your own personal, cultural, and spiritual roots.