Hello! My name is Jean Martinez and I am an alum from the first year that this awesome program took on the name JSC (14 – 15). I had never thought that my journey would take me to the South, coming from Pennsylvania and originally from NYC, but the sweet tea and warm weather quickly won my heart over and I knew I was in the right place.
My life mentor, who suggested this program to me, told me that this experience would be like nothing I’d ever encountered and that I would come out of it transformed. Boy, was she not kidding! I don’t think I could have prepared for what this program gave me. It stretched me and tore down walls that I wasn’t even aware were there. The sense of community was so palpable that my housemates and I got to the point where we knew if something was off with each other even if we didn’t say it outright. I became ok with being vulnerable and understanding that being intentional with every relationship is so important. In short, JSC gave me a second family.
To say that JSC was transformative would be an understatement. My fellow corps members and I walked through that yearlong journey together where each of us more clearly learned about ourselves and pushed ourselves to become better people. I went into the house not ready to share anything about myself and was even less interested in addressing conflict. I left with an invaluable skill of understanding that conflict is not always a bad thing and that if you truly want to build a solid relationship, vulnerability is the way to go. I could easily list the many things that JSC gave me, but I will end saying that this program is special and will continue to hold an important place in my heart. I am a better human because of this program, and for that I am forever grateful.