It was a good morning in November when I answered the Pathways phone and an AmeriCorps team member was on the line, asking if we would like a group of volunteers for a day of service at school.
On December 18th, we welcomed eight young people from all around the county on a 10-month term of community service across the western states. They had been in Julian for six weeks, staying at Camp Stevens and working on building and clearing trails, planting natives on Volcan and helping out around town, such as assisting locals in hanging all of the holiday decorations on our historic Main Street. On our day, they worked with Pathways, helping to wrap presents for our toy drive, moving a sandbox for the special ed. department, planting bulbs, painting our table, and installing a hoop system over our raised beds.
I also asked them if they would be willing to do a 15-minute presentation to the 4th and 5th grade classes. They were happy to do this and visited each class to discuss the concept of AmeriCorps, what projects they had already contributed to, where they were headed next, and what they had learned about committing a year of their young lives to service in various communities. I also asked the team to share some of their reflections on living in Julian with our students, as it’s always great to get an outsider’s perspective on what is just “daily life” for you. They talked about the natural beauty of Julian, the close-knit community who had welcomed them wholeheartedly and of course, the apple pie.
After taking a few last questions, I hustled them out the door so the students could get ready for lunch. As I did, some fifth graders followed us with pen and paper and started asking the AmeriCorps members to sign their names. Suddenly I realized the kids were asking for their autographs! The AmeriCorps members realized this too as they signed paper after paper, laughing that this was definitely a “first” for them.
Oh to live in a world where the people who volunteer and serve in communities are the celebrities! And thank you to the amazing Mrs. McFedries who has taught her class to respect and be grateful for people who serve others. Bless you AmeriCorps team as you continue to make the world a better place!