When I first turned my attention to my work plan I was... pretty frightened. Was I really supposed to get all this stuff done in one year? How was I, a 22 year old just out a college (with a B.A. in music performance and philosophy) supposed to get corporate sponsorship for an afterschool program as well as partner with sports teams and facilitate meetings? Basically, I realized that I didn't actually have to do that stuff. My job, as the first year VISTA, is to set in motion what needs to be set in motion to start the relationships that could eventually turn into corporate sponsorship and partnering with sports teams. Here I was thinking that I had to write a hundred grants to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep this program running when all I am really supposed to do is increase who knows about the program.
I looked at my VAD and suddenly understood that I don't have to get money from people - though it would be great if I did - all I have to do is increase awareness of the program. That is actually what my year of service is all about. I just need to get people involved and the get the program out into the community. Now, facilitating meetings... that's something that I do actually need to do and I worried about it. I had lead discussions in classes and small groups in college and I'm not afraid to do public speaking, but I won't really know the people there that much and, perhaps most importantly, I don't know what they think of me.
I'm just a lowly AmeriCorps*VISTA member. Most people don't even know what that is. The often unknown status of my job title combined with my age and, to some extent, inexperience, is something that I still see as an inhibitor to my success. Why should the Executive Director of such and such program meet with me? I'm just a guy trying to do some good stuff for kids... well, as it turns out that is exactly why. I'm a youth with some dedication, vision, passion, and work ethic to get things done. I've found that many people actually enjoy talking to me and hearing about what my goals are for the year and what I have been tasked to do. Sure, every now and again I get self conscious and it's really hard to stay afloat under the sheer weight of what I'm attempting to do - but as long as you keep moving forward you find that things get done. The AmeriCorps oath, which I think is both the silliest thing ever and perhaps the most appropriate statement, is that "I do affirm that I will get things done." In some respect, as long as I do something that is beneficial for the program that ends up helping some kids, I can sleep in the bed I've made.