Volunteer Perspective

Students from Around the World

Dick and Rusty GeorgeA student faces challenges when he or she returns to school after life has taken them in a different direction. At times, it is frightening and difficult to sit in a classroom because of the commitments one has in life. Many students face family, health, or work challenges. In addition, they need to attend to school requirements and obligations. Some of them have better abilities to cope; while others find it is a struggle to focus on their goals and demands from school.

A foreign student faces additional challenges. Some of those challenges to include language barriers, culture shock, and assimilating to the American customs.

– Dick and Rusty George

Better Support Themselves and Their Families

Vista VolunteerI am an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) at Central Georgia Technical College in the Adult Education Program. As a retired educator, I know the importance of an education in today's economy. I feel that I am helping my clients who did not finish their education due to life's situations. I encourage them to get back on track to get a GED and/or choose a career path that will enable them to better support themselves and their families. I also encourage them to get the Georgia Work Ready Certificate that shows their level of work skills so that they may be able to get a better job. I enroll clients into KeyTrain which is a training program in the GA Work Ready Program that will help build their work skills to a higher level. I want to give my clients the support and encouragement they need to make informed decisions about their future.

One of my older clients, Mr. S., would ride his bike to my worksite to work in KeyTrain faithfully. He did this for three or four days a week for two months during the summer. He took the GA Work Ready Certificate Test and did not make a high enough level to score. He decided that he needed to build his basic skills. He enrolled in the Adult Education Program at CGTC and is working on getting his GED. He is still working in KeyTrain to build his work skills. He plans to continue to get a college education.

– Name of Volunteer, AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America)

I Cared and Was Willing to Serve

Dyann MooreIt wasn't hard to love being part of an organization that had such a huge and meaningful impact on people's lives. It was especially gratifying to volunteer in Macon, a town I have lived in all my life. I have met people I never would have met and people who cared enough to volunteer.

Volunteers invested time to promote Adult Education and also understood it will improve skills to help a person have a better quality of life.

The experience has encouraged me to develop so many useful skills. Being a VISTA has allowed me to give back to my community. One instance comes to mind when I encouraged a young man to get his GED. Although he had the ability he lacked motivation.

– Dyann Moore, AmeriCorp*VISTA Team Leader

I Have Made a Difference

Carolyn GloverI was always thought that you must go to school and work to make a good living.  I did that and retired a year ago after over twenty- five years of Law Enforcement service.  I retired to find another area of employment; go to more schools and make more money.

After retiring for about two months, I was invited back to the Lymore Estate community by a resident to attend an open house one Saturday.  I went to this event to socialize with some of the friends that I had made throughout my career.  After attending this event, my well thought out plans for retirement changed.  I mingled and talked with the residents advising them that I had retired.  Some were surprised, some asked what were they going to do without me, and some said that they would miss me.  What they did not know was that I missed them too and felt that my mission there was not complete. 

I sought out the pastor of the Church and advised him that I wanted to do something to help.  He pointed me in the direction of a beautiful person who I had been admiring for the past year.  She told me about the AmeriCorps VISTA program and asked me to contact Mrs. Phyllis Dorn, who I also had met during my career and admired her compassion in helping the less fortunate.  I knew then that I had been called to volunteering by a higher power.  These ladies introduced me to the Career Connections program that would assist students with obtaining their GED through a computer based program called Keytrain. 

This unexpected turn of event has changed my life forever.  Yes, I have assisted students in getting their GED, yes, I have encouraged students to attend college and yes, I have encouraged students to obtain their Georgia Work Ready certificate. But the most valuable lesson for me was what I have learned about myself.  I have learned that volunteering is more than giving.  It has given me the satisfaction of knowing that I have made a difference.  It has increased my social awareness; I have gained self confidence while discovering new strengths and talents. It has prepared me even better for the workplace by developing my skills and helping me gain invaluable work experience.  I have met new people and made new friends.  I have had invaluable training that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I have learned that we all have some things in common to give such as our time, energy, skills and feelings.  Uniting together around common goals can make this world a better place.  Being a volunteer for AmeriCorps VISTA has helped me to understand that Community work teaches us that we can take action to solve problems rather than simply worrying about them.

– Carolyn Glover, AmeriCorp*VISTA Team Leader