Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cool Craigslist Perspective

This week I started volunteering with COOL Youth, met a woman from Craigslist about a possible friendship and got a new perspective on what I want to do with my life. I will now approach these out of order, the way I was taught not to.

In March, I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to hang out with once I moved to Minneapolis. I wanted to meet someone that lived in my neighborhood and wasn't frightening to spend time with. (At this point, I have ended half of my sentences with prepositions.) Krista replied one late night, and we traded Facebook information. Up until this week, we had been inadvertently avoiding each other. We met for coffee at a neighborhood coffee shop and then moved on to eat dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Overall, I thought it went well, but I talked way too much. I think a lot of my uncontrollable life-story word vomit is rooted in the need to get it over with and lay the crazy out on the table.

Monday I also started volunteering for COOL Youth. "What is COOL Youth?" you might ask. It's a non-faith based after-school/summer program for low-income families in my neighborhood. And, it's amazing, and I love it. I hang out with fun kids all day who don't waste time trying to act suave and sophisticated. It's really refreshing, and we take turns battling to be the center of attention. Another great thing is the staff is awesome and really dedicated to the kids. Even grumpy, tired kids end up running around smiling their little faces off.

I'm liking the experience so much, I've applied to be an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow with COOL Youth and work there for a year. It's all plus-sides. I would get the experience necessary to coordinate a similar, youth-based program. I would be able to establish network connections in the community. Oh, and they'd pay me to be there. It's nuts. I've been looking at job requirements for positions around town with after-school programs and non-profits that work with youth. This AmeriCorps Promise Fellow position would give me the experience necessary to turn a beloved volunteer opportunity into a promising, non-morally compromising career. I think it's interesting that it took me this long to realize that I don't have to sell stuff to make a living.

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