BY MADDIE FERRELL, AMERICORPS VISTA, FRIENDS OF DECKERS CREEK
After I graduated college, I was excited to begin a career in environmental work, but starting a career path can be difficult. I began to realize that most entry level positions only helped me learn one or two aspects of the field. I felt as though I was not expanding my knowledge of environmental work in the way I had hoped. I began searching for opportunities in my field, but many of the positions I wanted required years of experience. Once I realized this, I started to brainstorm effective ways to expand my resume and experience.
A few people in my graduating class had decided to commit to a VISTA year and had good experiences. Knowing this, I researched the VISTA program and realized all the amazing benefits and lessons I would encounter in just one year. I was specific in my search for VISTA positions and was determined to find one related to environmental work.
I am so happy that now I am a VISTA with Friends of Deckers Creek in Morgantown, West Virginia. I’m an alumnus of West Virginia University, so Morgantown holds a special place in my heart and it feels good to give back to a community that I love. I am learning new aspects of environmental work, but I’m also learning how to connect with the community I’m serving, how to keep a nonprofit sustainable, and how to effectively engage the community in environmental efforts. In this position, not only am I taking steps to advance my career, but I’m also helping the community have a healthier watershed.
Interested in contributing to this work happening across West Virginia? Donate to The Hub’s VISTA program so we can support West Virginians volunteering every single day to give back to the communities they love.