Reflection of an AmeriCorps Member

In 2011, Wyman received grant funding to acquire six AmeriCorps members to provide direct service in our Teen Leadership and Teen Outreach Programs®. Kristen Yelton, an AmeriCorps member serving through Wyman’s TLP, discusses her path to service and how her experience has impacted her future.

AmeriCorps members Jennifer Rogers, left, and Kristen Yelton deliver water to TLP teens on their day of service.

When I graduated college with a degree in education I was so excited to have the opportunity to inspire young minds to dream big and achieve goals.  As my life went through some twists and turns in addition to some ups and downs, I realized it was working with teens that I was passionate about – not formal academic education.  I stumbled on Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program (TLP) summer staff application and it sounded right up my alley.  I was a group leader for two summers working with high school juniors and seniors to realize their college dreams and build strong communities around them.  In the middle of my second summer with the TLP, I was asked if I would be interested in signing up for a year of service with AmeriCorps as Wyman was about to pilot the community service program within their ranks. Since I was not familiar with AmeriCorps, I immediantly requested more information. In the end, I knew that if it gave me a chance to continue working with Wyman teens, I had to say yes.

It has been a new adventure to interact with the teens throughout the entire year as opposed to simply during the summer.  As part of my service, I visit a dozen schools quarterly to have lunch with teens and catch up on how life is treating them.  I attend community service events and work side by side with motivated young people that want to make the world a better place.  I have been fortunate enough to attend a Ram’s football game, the Wyman Orange Carpet Gala and Wyman’s annual Legislative Day trip to Jefferson City along with the incredible TLP teens during my time as an AmeriCorps member.  These are opportunities I would have never had as a seasonal staff person.  I will always treasure my year of service with AmeriCorps for the many reasons I have already mentioned in addition to the over 300 teens that I have been honored to work with during my time with the Wyman Center.  My time at Wyman has helped me to understand where my future career goals lie and assured me that it is within youth development programming.  I will complete my Master’s in Youth Development in 2013 and I look forward to continuing to work with youth and carrying on some of the great lessons and values I have inherited from the Wyman Center.

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