I arrived at the Carrboro house after only visiting the Triangle, one time, a month earlier. Little did I know that Carrboro/Chapel Hill would quickly become a second home.
Before beginning Johnson Service Corps, I had spent three years as a Research Assistant, and I felt drawn to gain experience in direct service work versus continuing on a strictly research-based path. Committing to Johnson Service Corps was risky because I was leaving a full-time job with great benefits. Even so, as I’ve learned over the past few months, taking a risk can be both an empowering and a life-affirming decision. I wake up every weekday excited to go to work and collaborate with intelligent and compassionate coworkers at Compass Center.
Through my time here, I am part of implementing housing and mental health grants, getting to know the wonderful people who volunteer at Compass Center each week, and helping make our services more accessible to broader groups of people. In all honesty, working with victims of domestic violence is not easy, but my days are full of meaningful work. Doing such emotionally intense work has taught me the importance of both work-life balance and setting personal boundaries. It is hard to empower others when you are not also prioritizing your own needs.
Life outside Compass Center is pretty sweet, too. For example, being in Johnson Service Corps and attending racial equity trainings continues to inform the work I do at Compass Center. The community dinners at Carrboro house, church services at The Advocate, the 20’s and 30’s group at Chapel of the Cross (Yes, I do go to two different churches!), volunteering at the Carrboro Yoga Company, hanging out with friends, and visiting the public library nearly every week (Chapel Hill has a BEAUTIFUL library) are some of the activities that fill my days/weeks/months. Recently, I was accepted into the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at UNC Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!) and I am grateful for the role Johnson Service Corps and Compass Center has had in discerning my next steps.