As a new AmeriCorps term begins, we had our former AmeriCorps members reflect on their time here at Friedens.
“The value in my AmeriCorps service term reaches far and wide, but I don’t think it solely lies within the skills I’ve gained or my “employability.” It’s not documented in a spreadsheet. For me, what I gained most from my time with Friedens is my ability to recognize and receive love, compassion, and understanding. Regardless of what was or was not accomplished during my year at the pantry, our team prioritized one thing above all else: making sure that our community is seen, heard, and loved. We pride ourselves on being a place of comfort, not just a place we serve. Of course we provide the necessary resources folks may need in difficult times, but what they leave with at the pantry is so much more than that. It’s not quantifiable. It can’t be tracked on an iPad or jammed into a pie chart. What our people leave with is a sense of belonging; a place where they can be themselves and feel understood. Maybe we haven’t walked the same path or lived in the same shoes, but we’ve shared small moments of joy, moments of grace and kindness, moments of true spiritual generosity. This is what I’ve learned most from everyone during my service year at Friedens; how to connect with the people I’ve served, the staff I’ve worked alongside, the community we’ve built around us. My time at the pantry cannot be measured, and cannot be summed up on paper, because it’s not finite. It doesn’t have a clear end. I will continue to hold the people of this community in my heart, and I hope my impact on them will survive long beyond my time as the Food Center Coordinator. I know I will see many of them again, many more times. Because as our site supervisor Max always says: our people come back.”
-Nina, Former Food Center Coordinator
“My time at Friedens was very eye-opening. I’ve volunteered with many different groups and non-profits over the years, but this was my first time being involved with one on a professional level. It was a deeply rewarding experience to be able to see firsthand the good work Friedens does every day – to be on the ground at the pantries working alongside the volunteers to serve our community members. I’ve worked jobs in the past where I often questioned if I was doing anything of real value. I NEVER had to question that at Friedens – the work we do is always in the service of something greater than ourselves!
Friedens challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone – to rise to the opportunity of interacting face-to-face with an incredibly diverse group of people. I hope that the volunteers and community members that I was fortunate to meet would say that I did an adequate job of representing Friedens and meeting their needs. I was honored to work with all of them!”
-Sean, Former Volunteer Manager
We are so thankful for all of the work that our volunteers, AmeriCorps members, and more do! Without all of you, we could not do what we do.