BY RACHEL PELL, AMERICORPS VISTA, FRIENDS OF DECKERS CREEK
I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC), and this September marks the end of my year of service. FODC is a nonprofit watershed group in Morgantown, WV whose mission is to improve the natural qualities of, increase the public concern for, and promote the enjoyment of the Deckers Creek Watershed.
But what does that mean?
The best way I know how to explain to you is by example.
Here is what it looks like to be an AmeriCorps VISTA in action. These are my personal top 5 highlights from my year of service:
- It may sound a little cheesy, but getting to meet so many motivated and selfless people — other VISTAs, all of our volunteers, and everyone else — who are a part of the FODC community!
- The times when I saw kids get so excited when they found stream critters during our lessons, or hearing about the fish someone caught in Deckers Creek. It never gets old.
- Transforming a grungy bridge abutment into a beautiful place to sit along Deckers Creek by painting a vibrant and educational mural.
- Seeing a fundraiser that I took the lead in coordinating turn out a huge success, with everyone really enjoying themselves!
- Coordinating and helping plant 110 saplings along Deckers Creek.
I am so grateful for this experience and for the opportunity to work with such a welcoming community. My year of service has made me realize that making a positive impact on someone is my favorite thing to do.
Helping someone spark an interest in the environment, or learn something new, or get involved — these things can seem trivial at the time, but they can have a really big impact. All of these small accomplishments over this year have definitely had a huge impact on me. I have grown so much, both professionally and personally, and am walking away inspired and motivated to continue to make positive strides wherever I go.