First-year member Madi Nelski Interviewed fellow member Rachel Incorvati about her life during service with AmeriCorps. This blog is a reflection of that interview and an insight into the life of an AmeriCorps VISTA serving in East Tennessee.
Tell me about your site and what your favorite thing about it is.
“I serve with the Harm Reduction team at Positively Living & Choice Health Network here in Knoxville, TN. Positively Living & Choice Health Network assists those facing challenges from living with HIV, substance use disorder (SUD), homelessness, mental illness, and disabilities. The Harm Reduction team specifically offers free syringe and injection supply access, HIV & hepatitis C (HCV) point-of-care testing, naloxone distribution and training, HCV confirmatory blood draws, and linkage to care for HIV, HCV, and SUD treatment. My favorite thing about serving with the Harm Reduction team is that even in the roughest of times, we can still manage to make each other laugh.”
What did you study in college, and how did that lead you to the AmeriCorps
“I studied Creative Writing in English with a concentration in Poetry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation, but I knew that I loved Knoxville and my community. I had some friends decide to serve with AmeriCorps in other cities, so I figured why not try it here.”
What would you be if you could be anything for Halloween?
“Oh man… There are so many ideas. As of this moment, probably a member of KISS.”
How Has Service Personally Impacted you?
“My service introduced me to Harm Reduction not only as public health, but as a movement which I hold so near and dear to me now. We all deserve respect. People who use drugs deserve respect and the autonomy to make the best decisions for themselves. Harm Reduction encourages this while also aiming to minimize the negative health consequences and stigma associated with drug use. It’s grounded in justice, human-rights, and evidence which I am always an advocate for.”
What is your dream job?
“I don’t have one specifically in mind but something that incorporates artistic freedom, working remotely, and the ability to purchase more “fun” groceries.”
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
“Probably Amsterdam. I am not the most well-traveled but it was one of the first major cities outside of the US I’ve visited and I really fell in love with the art, fashion, and pulse of the city. Plus it’s a train or a short flight away from a lot of other places I’d like to see.”
What is your favorite AmeriCorps memory thus far?
“I had the pleasure of helping set up a sign for a 19th-century cemetery located in Dogwood Elementary School’s outdoor classroom for our 9/11 Day of Service. It was a bit laborious, but it was neat to work in the outdoor classroom and amongst some local history. Also, my inner goth kid finds cemeteries cool.”
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.