When I was considering what to do after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in May of 2018, Johnson Service Corps was not really at the top of my list – and I mean literally, because when I listed out the Episcopal Service Corps sites I was interested in, JSC was at the very bottom. I was wholly determined to leave the Chapel Hill area, and that is what I told Executive Director Aleta and Program Associate Christina when I interviewed.
Fortunately for me, they understood my wish and told me that if I ever changed my mind, they would love to have me. When decision time came around, I walked into the JSC office uncertain about what I wanted and looking for answers.
Aleta and Christina’s kindness, warmth, and genuine excitement to have me in the program convinced me that maybe staying in Chapel Hill-Durham another year wasn’t such a bad idea.
We are over six months in and more than halfway through, and I can honestly say this program has made such a difference in my life. It has given me the opportunity to explore Durham, a place that I lived close to but never really knew anything about. The amazing history of activism and change constantly amazes me, because I’m living and working in it every day, surrounded by people who cherish this city and want to make it the best it can be. While I might be partial to Chapel Hill (and that better shade of blue), I have definitely become a Bull City fan.
My placement site at East Durham Children’s Initiative has completely changed what I thought I wanted to do with my life. When I first heard where I’d been placed, I was disappointed; again, this choice had been at the bottom of my list, because I thought that I wanted to do anything other than work with kids. However, once again, the JSC team knew what they were doing: I love EDCI and all the work we do, and I love the kids that I work with. My coworkers are awesome, supportive, and hilarious, and they never hesitate to help me learn and grow in my job and in my future prospects. EDCI has helped me realize that I want to work in education – somehow, some way, I want to help teach kids about the world and make sure they feel safe and happy.
Finally, the intentional community that we have created in the Durham house is something that I will always treasure. My housemates are the kindest, funniest, most wonderful people, and they make me so excited to go home. We spend our time eating good food, having facilitated discussions about serious issues, and laughing at the ridiculous things we all do. They’re the kind of people who surprise me with two pans of mac and cheese and our neighbor’s dog when I’m having a bad day. I know that they will always be there for me, even when we aren’t seeing completely eye to eye.
I am so thankful for everyone who makes this program possible; it truly makes a difference for the Corps members. I know it has for me.