I believe the Regional Service Corps has given me a special gift. This year I have worked with over seventy-five students. I know that every last one of them has shown improvement. I couldn't be happier with this outcome.
Yvonne Yzaguirre, Class of 2003 and 2005
I got more out of this experience than any other experience in my 38 years. AmeriCorps has given me confidence to choose a new career path. It has given me direction as far as the needs of my community and the difference I can make within it. It has shown me how much I love helping others and need to make a life choice in that direction. It has made me more full of a natural joy that I bring to every part of my life. It has empowered me to take on the challenges that are ahead of me.
Kim Holdiman, Class of 2003 and 2004
As a bilingual math tutor and mentor to middle school students, I have had the privilege of working with some truly great, culturally diverse kids. I've formed meaningful bonds with these truly special kids. The days we spent giggling and laughing and growing together were some of the best-spent moments of my life. It was great to see the improvement in the students' grades, and fantastic to see the positive changes in their self-esteem.
Throughout my RSC-AmeriCorps experience, I am most proud of being a positive influence in kids' lives. The bond we shared helped "hook them" on school and they became eager to learn. It was great seeing each of them grow as people.
Suzy Carter, Class of 2004
AmeriCorps has given me a greater awareness of the vital role volunteerism plays in our communities, not just through the work I did but also through organizations I came to know. I saw how important it was to teachers that some parents came in and volunteered their time to help. I came to realize the often great importance of only a few hours of volunteer time--how a few minutes a day could bring a young student up to speed on reading ability, or how a few hours each of thousands of volunteers could rebuild a playground. Through AmeriCorps, I have come to know well a much wider range of people. I also experienced a quiet revolution. I came more and more to see many of our differences as assets--different viewpoints meant we approached a problem or issue with a broader range of perspectives to draw from. I used to like my friends despite our differences of opinions; now I enjoy and cherish these differences.
Roger Wells, Class of 2003 (Yakima) and 2004
I am glad that I finally tried "something new" after being a nurse for almost 29 years. I had been wanting to do this for some time and definitely needed to "get out of my rut" and try something different. It was an enjoyable experience and I know I will never regret "taking a risk" and having this new adventure.
Bonnie Hamdi, Class of 2004
I have gained a deep sense of satisfaction that I can do things, that I have given to my community, and I have finished all I have set out to do. One of the biggest changes I have seen in myself is my ability to step out of my "box." I have pushed my limits and moved beyond them. I haven't done it completely willingly some of the time, but I have done it, and it feels great. I have learned to deal with things in a new way, gained perspectives on how to approach challenges and making them surmountable. I have done things I never dreamed of doing, and I have done them well. This is one of the greatest parts of the whole experience. I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for the program. I have been challenged again and again, and I continue to carry on and succeed in those challenges. I am a stronger, better, smarter, and more empathetic person now than I was in September.
Because of my service time in AmeriCorps I have been accepted into an accelerated graduate school program. I will have my MSW degree in one year from now. I will be quickly moving along the path towards accomplishing my career goals. I could have done it without AmeriCorps, but the road will be different, shorter, and in some respects easier because of the past year. I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities, which will have a huge impact as I move forward to new challenges and experiences in my life.
Alissa Nield, Class of 2004
I know I made a difference in the lives of the students I worked with during the past nine months. It isn't necessarily a concrete thing that can be measured or quantified, but it is there.
I especially enjoyed my involvement with the wide variety of community agencies. It is rewarding to see that when many people come together for a common purpose, amazing things can be accomplished. During my AmeriCorps service, I've not only been able to serve, but have made valuable contacts with community and business leaders. I believe that these people are interested in my success and the success of the projects in which I am involved and could be called upon for help.
Hillary Goodey, Class of 2004
I made a difference by being a positive influence to students; that is what children need today. I showed the students that they are important to me and my greatest achievement over the year is that I have been a part of helping them learn. I bonded with the students, and liked to see the smiles on their faces. Everywhere that I go now, I see students who say, "Hello, Mrs. Rambo" and it warms my heart to know I have had an impact on their lives.
Cheryl Rambo, Class of 2004
During my year in AmeriCorps, I found that my love of learning and children are so much a part of me that the year flew by because I was enjoying helping the children so much. My experience with them was fantastic. This year has strengthened for me what I always knew I wanted to do; teach children. My experiences this year have just made this more a reality within and has finally been the push I needed to take the next step in making that possible, getting my Masters in Teaching.
Linda Kerkhof, Class of 2004 and 2005
I didn't make a lot of money, but what I did get was an awesome time working with elementary students, improving literacy of needy children, working on a diverse team, helping strengthen my community, and had fun doing it. I am now officially nine months older than when I started the program. If I were pregnant when the program started and I had my kid now I would have named it "Readsalot, Knight of the reading table." I do know that I have changed as a person. I took part in a non-violent communication workshop. At the time I thought it was kind of hokey, or even kind of hippyish. Now however I find myself using the strategies in my own life so that no-ones needs are compromised and I want to attend another workshop or like go back in time and do the one I was at again.
Brandon Veleke, Class of 2004
AmeriCorps made me realize that I have skills that I didn't think I had. It changed my perspective about how at my age I can still do things and begin new things and even learn all about computers. Volunteering as an AmeriCorps has given me more experience and I can now use my education award to expand my career options.
Frances Valle, Class of 2004
I have impacted the children and, more importantly, it has been a life-change for me. I no longer hide my head or avoid, when presented with the possibility of failing because I don't know enough about what I "may" be doing. That is probably my greatest achievement for this past year. It feels very selfish, but when one honors oneself with a gift, it likely will spread. Perhaps, that is the spirit of becoming, of becoming much more than someone "thought" you capable of, that will open doors for the students, too, sending them places that will surprise everyone.
Sanders Perkins, Class of 2004
Working in different roles, from team member to facilitator, helped me see what I can be good at; I wanted to work on my leadership skills, and I think I've improved on them. In May, I was chosen to join the Board of Directors for The Arc of Tri-Cities, and I was recently hired as a bilingual speech and language pathology tutor. I am very excited about the upcoming year and don't think I would have seized nor been offered these opportunities had it not been for my AmeriCorps service.
Liz Mendez, Class of 2003
Reputation brought me to the RSC program and in just a few months I have learned more here than in four years of high school, while loving the work I do.
Shae Richardson, Class of 2003
Because of AmeriCorps, my dream of returning to school will soon be a reality. During this year I have gained insight into my unique skills and talents as an individual. I have improved in my skills as a leader.
Mary Martindale, Class of 2003
This year has changed my perspective about how even at my age I can begin in a new field and that experience counts as much if not more in some areas as higher education.
Kelly Hansen, Class of 2003
My dream in life is to be a teacher so that I can help those in need and being an AmeriCorps member has let me reach out and touch a part of my dream.
Jacqueline Aparicio, Class of 2003 and 2004
RSC-AmeriCorps is not just a national service; it is a helping hand in building the backbone of a strong community. My experience as a member has impacted my life by challenging me to become a stronger person.
Tiffany Labat, Class of 2003
I have gained many insights during my time as an AmeriCorps member. Because of the ongoing training I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned more about life and people from my term of service than I ever did while getting my four-year degree.
Andrea Sharp, Class of 2001 and 2002
I've learned so much, grown so much and accomplished so much in this one year than I ever imagined in my lifetime. The knowledge, confidence, and experience will always be with me, and I will always be grateful to those that have helped me along the way. I had the choice to better my community and that enriched their lives for that one moment that I helped them.
Angela Moore, Class of 2002
I have lived here almost my whole life. Even so, I have often felt estranged from half of the community. My service changed that for me. It really hit me when I went to the dedication of a house I helped build for Habitat for Humanity. As it turns out, a student whom I had been tutoring is now living in that house. Not only that, but a few other students I tutor showed up for the ceremony. If I hadn't had this position, these faces would have been foreign to me. Now, it seems that whenever I am in public, I see familiar smiling faces looking up at me, faces of those whom I tutor and faces of those who simply attend the school I serve at. Then I see the parents of these children, and the siblings and the aunts and uncles, and I realize that I am finally, after 24 years of life, a real part of this community.
Birgitta Hillesland, Class of 2001
The most important thing I got from my AmeriCorps experience is a new perspective about who I am and what my role is in my community. I no longer see a situation I think needs changing and think, "Someone needs to do something about that." Now I think, "What is it that I can do about that?" - and I now know that if I choose to help, I can make a difference.
Cynthia Luerkens, Class of 2001 and 2002
I believe that this journey was a gift of knowledge and experiences.
Jessica Edler, Class of 2000 and 2001
I got so much out of this year it would take me pages to explain. I am proud to have touched 30 students lives and hope that they will become better readers, writers, and leaders for tomorrow. This is a fascinating experience. I love to see those smiling faces everyday, wondering if I am talking to a future brain surgeon, or the next president. Sometimes I do not get smiling faces, but it is a joy to turn those frowns upside down.
Matthew Buckingham, Class of 2001 and 2002
I had the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful group of individuals and an opportunity to serve in the community. From each opportunity and individual I gained valuable experience and fellowship. I will continue to look for areas to serve whether it be as a parent, family or community member. I have learned that one can make a difference.
Maria Till, Class of 2001
What I am most proud about if the impacts I have seen in the community from what I have done with the team. I have had a complete stranger walk up to me and tell me what an excellent job our team did on a community project.
Nicholas Russell, Class of 2001, 2002 and 2003
What I have gotten out of my AmeriCorps experience is the ability to be part of a team. Personally, not ever having this team experience before, it was very scary for me at first. But now I can honestly say that being part of the RSC-AmeriCorps team has been the most rewarding and best experience of my life. When I think about my AmeriCorps experience, the one thing that I am most proud of is the difference that I've made in my students life. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I've made a positive impact on them. To know that I have helped these children improve in their reading ability and their self-confidence has been a wonderful experience for me. I think that this is something everyone should get to experience. I have grown to know my community better and have made life long friends with my AmeriCorps team. It has been a wonderful, fulfilling year for me.
Tracey Waldron, Class of 2001 and 2002
I became much more self-confident because of my experience. AmeriCorps has taught me just how much of an impact one person can have on another. It also taught me the importance of teamwork and a positive attitude.
Ashleigh Thompson, Class of 2001
I received great training and became more aware of community needs. I think my greatest achievement was being a positive influence on the children I served.
Luis Guitierrez, Class of 2001
During my two years in AmeriCorps I have learned that I have a gift for working with students, so I will take the knowledge I've gained and pursue a life in the field of teaching. I will continue to seek out areas to volunteer in, as well.
Nicholas Russell, Class of 2001, 2002 and 2003
I never knew how empty my soul was until it was filled. Before this experience, I was always able to turn away from the needs of my community. After seeing the needs of my community and receiving encouragement to address them, I now know that I can help fix these problems.
Richard Nicacio, Class of 2001
This year has been a gift to me in more ways than I can count. The learning and growing is evident. The experiences are priceless. To work as a team. To argue, discuss and laugh. We have grown through our differences, seen the world through each others' eyes and in doing so, have broadened our perspectives and gained valuable tools and insights.
Paula Yencopal, Class of 2001
I really can't remember what it was like to go to a mundane job everyday that didn't use all of my talents. The program made me push myself to lengths I didn't know I had. I have picked up so many new skills, I think I could adapt to anything!. I didn't know what to expect coming into the program I was scared that I wouldn't make a difference. I did though. Every day, I am still amazed about the number of lives we touched.
Malinda Murphy, Class of 2001
I want to see this program continue and grow. Having the experience of being involved, I want to continue in whatever way I can, I feel strongly about the positive training, helping members to achieve their goals and see the difference we all made in our community. After two years, it's going to be difficult to leave the team. I know that I will continue helping my community because it makes me feel good about myself and those around me.
Gus Keck, Class of 2000 and 2001
I gained a lot of leadership skills and got to apply them. Serving in AmeriCorps has made me realize that I could make a lot more money elsewhere, but I wouldn't be truly happy unless I was serving a higher purpose and knowing I was making a positive impact on the lives of others in our community.
James Tamez, Class of 1999, 2000 and 2001