This past year, I have been fortunate enough to have served with COIN as an AmeriCorps member with the Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps. I have interacted with so many and learned so much, and now that my service year is coming to end, I have been reflecting on my time with AmeriCorps and with COIN.
I knew that I was interested in working with immigrants and refugees long before I was placed with COIN, but having just graduated with a B.A. in philanthropic studies, had no previous experience with immigration law. One of the first events that I attended as an AmeriCorps member was a DACA renewal clinic at Catholic Charities- what a great start to my year! It was my first interaction with DACA and with many of COIN's partners, and an overwhelmingly heartwarming introduction to the community of volunteers, legal services providers, and immigrant service providers. Each event and interaction since has proven to be heartwarming, sometimes heart wrenching, and educational; I began to learn a little bit about the law, but also about the community, about the cultures, and about our partners.
As the year progressed I had many opportunities to develop my professional skills and continue learning from my peers. From event planning to graphic design, public speaking to writing blogs, I was challenged to help bolster COIN's growth and support our partners. I have been fortunate to have this unique role as an AmeriCorps member, to use this year not only as a chance to make an impact in my community but also to develop my skills and gain professional experience. Now as I enter the workforce, I feel comfortable and capable having had this experience and the opportunity to learn by action.
As my service is wrapping up, I have been reflecting on every aspect of my term. I am overwhelmingly grateful to those who supported me and helped me to learn. I am appreciative of the relationships that were formed and the connections that were made. And I do not take for granted that I was fortunate enough to participate in this year of service, that I was placed with COIN, and that I got to live out, and learn about, my passions and interest. Thank you to all who helped make this wonderful experience happen.