Dirty Hands, Clear Mind

Article Author:

Kellie Hill,  CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017

CAC AmeriCorps has given me the opportunity to move to a city in which I never thought I’d live, and serve a community that has grown so close to my heart. I am incredibly grateful for the way that CAC AmeriCorps allows me to connect with a site so specific to my interests and passions, and the direction that it has given me as a recent college graduate. Because of my first service term in Knoxville, Tennessee at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, I have grown as a person and felt connections in ways that are irreplaceable. During my senior year of university as a geography student, I had many goals and ambitions for what I wanted to do with my focus in humanities. It is intimidating to enter the “real world” without much work experience in one’s field, and I feel that AmeriCorps is a great way for young adults to ask questions and gain insightful experiences.

14184568_1762761300671905_1315119304514586993_nMy year of service has allowed me to take on a variety of responsibilities that help me feel prepared and more qualified as I work towards my dream job. While this national service program helps me, it is also helping others, so I know that I am exactly where I need to be. Not everybody is made for college, an indoor desk job, or working a consistent schedule, but I do believe that everyone is meant to connect with their community and learn ways to better interact with the earth that we all call home. AmeriCorps is an amazing opportunity to get out there and discover how you can better daily human-environmental interactions that we all have. It is not necessary for every person my age to get a college degree in order to make a difference in their community, and it is different for everyone depending on their goals and aspirations. Inspiring people to serve their community is important because it may teach them more about what motivates them in order for them to follow their dreams. Hands-on learning and direct experience is so powerful in connecting with more than just one’s mind, it can also grab their heart and help them explore creativity.

I believe in alternative ways to learn about oneself and develop who we wish to become, and serving with AmeriCorps, all over the nation, does just that. As I approach my last few months at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, I feel more open-minded and motivated to take my next step in a direction that helps bridge the gap between those who are fortunate and those who are underserved. Beardsley has taught me more than ever how important it is to be there as a friendly neighbor for those who need assistance, and I think that is a lesson that more people should consider when finding ways to serve.blog2 The answer is to dive right in, get your hands dirty, find what the community needs, and make it happen. Make it work through learning experiences and educational opportunities. Help the community grow by teaching them how to live more sustainably; not just environmentally, but economically and socially. Inspire people and let it be known that we all have the power to make a difference, and we can achieve more if we come together as a team. Demonstrate equity. Education is a right. Equal housing opportunities are a right. Having access to fresh, local produce is a right, and so is having clean water. Nobody deserves to be stuck in a situation where they are unable to make ends meet.

#AmeriCorpsWorks to tear down the gap in society and serve those who deserve more.

#AmeriCorpsWorks with people, not for people.

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This blog post is a collection of personal reflections and expressions. All opinions represented are those of the author and do not represent the official opinion or views of the Knoxville – Knox County Community Action Committee, CAC AmeriCorps or any other party referenced.

Published by

Jason Scott

CAC AmeriCorps Program Director Since 2015.