Kirsten Chang served with the 2017-2018 JSC cohort.
I was at a JSC mixer event recently, and someone asked me, “What did you learn during your time as a Corps Member?” It was hard for me to answer. How do you distill a year’s worth of incredibly transformative experiences into a soundbite at a party?
The answer is that every day, I live into what I learned during 2017-18. In big and small ways, I carry my JSC experiences with me all the time. Our servant leadership course changed the way I think about service. Training we received on racial equity runs through my head nearly every day. I still cook recipes I learned from my housemates. I believe that I’m a better communicator, worker, servant, and partner because of what I learned at JSC.
I recently started a communications job at NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues, where the broad mission is to make North Carolina a better state. One of our initiatives is Service Year NC, which you can imagine is close to my heart. I’m proud to be working for an organization that wants to make a year of service expected and accessible for young people across the state.
My placement during JSC was with Orange County Department on Aging at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill. Lately, I’ve been missing my daily interactions with seniors, so I signed up with the Center for Volunteer Caregiving to visit with seniors in their homes.
I lived in a cozy house in Carrboro with four other Corps Members who came from all over the country (literally—from Washington State to Maine). Although we aren’t able to see each other often, they still feel like family.
I’ve kept my ties to the larger JSC community, too. I attend JSC events, try to make myself available as a resource to the new cohorts, and enjoy catching up with JSC staff whenever I can.
I’m incredibly grateful for JSC, and I know that in the years to come, I will continue to find joy and learn lessons from my year of service.