One of the greatest perks of being an Urban Education Service Corps AmeriCorps member for the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Office of Family and Community Engagement is that there is such a wide range of opportunities to give back. Not only are there options to serve at a high school, middle school, or elementary school, but we can also choose to support the Superintendent Parent Forums and serve at local community organizations that partner with DPS schools. There are many ways to give back, and this program really gives members the opportunity to serve in a way that is meaningful to us, while simultaneously networking and building relationships with professionals who share our passion.
Last year, I earned extra hours by serving as a coach for the Junior Varsity girls’ soccer team at my school site, North High School. This was a very rewarding experience, but for my second term of service I wanted a change of pace and scenery. With that said, in recent months I became increasingly passionate about women’s rights and raising awareness around the issue of sexual violence. I’ve seen far too many stories of universities or businesses blaming the victim for their assault and have had far too many people in my life affected by this issue. For that reason I decided to reach out to an organization called “The Blue Bench” (formerly known as RAAP, or the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program), which works to put an end to sexual assault through prevention and care. Their volunteer coordinator has been a delight to work with and has reached out to the case managers on site to see how they might need support. I’ve been delegated with the task of organizing a resource directory that will actually be placed in each of their offices so that when they are sitting with a client, they will be able to easily refer them to the necessary services. It’s a simple project, but could make consults more convenient for everyone involved. As an AmeriCorps member, no matter how I serve, it is important to me that what I do will impact people of my community in a positive way. Thanks to the Family and Community Engagement Urban Education AmeriCorps program, I have the capacity to serve in my community in a variety of ways.
– Alayna Shaw, AmeriCorps member