Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Year of Service Complete!!

What a year!

It seems like just yesterday that 40 complete strangers were gathering outside of the Boynton Beach City Library, anxiously awaiting entrance inside to start not only two weeks of orientation, but a year that would truly change all of our lives. Now, that year has come to a close and it's time to reflect and move on.

This past Friday, myself and the 39 other members of our amazing Literacy AmeriCorps group officially graduated after completing over 1700 hours of service throughout Palm Beach County. It's been a year of ups and downs, but through everything, we remained a cohesive unit. We painted houses, passed out books, connected with unruly youth, and touched more lives than can be quantified by numbers.

As I look back on this year, I realize that I've grown so much as a person. Both personally and professionally, I'm not the same Michael that I was when I started this program last August. I was coming off one of the most indescribable experiences of my life and didn't know if anything could ever top it. However, I was quickly proven wrong. I've met some lifelong friends in this program and am so excited to see what the upcoming year and beyond holds for them all!

As for me, I'll be back here in Florida for round 2. This program made such an impact on me that I wasn't ready to leave it just yet. I'll be serving as a reading specialist at EdVenture Charter School, a school that reaches out to students with behavior, academic, and attendance issues. I'm looking forward to this new challenge that will hopefully further fortify the fact that teaching is the career path for me to follow after year 2.

These past few days have been filled with tears, hugs, "see you later"s, and a full gambit of emotions. This year's group will forever hold a special place in my life and has definitely helped shape my outlook on life going forward. Now it's on to packing up my apartment, moving upstairs to the new place, and then embarking on another epic journey - a 3 week road trip to Pennsylvania with Cathy.

The next adventure begins Friday!

Kourtney and I

The Lord's Place Crew - me, Max, Kourtney, Eve, Jim, and Dave

Roommates next year! Representing 377!

The guys of LAC 2012-2013

We did it!! Gonna miss this bunch!

Audrey and I - one of the most amazing supervisors ever!

The Blackhawks crew - forever a hockey fan!