In the past four and a half years I have made both small and large transitions – from leaving the only home that I had known for 18 years, by moving to Michigan for about 4 years to get my degree, to spending a summer in Ireland and now settling down for the year in Carrboro. One of the most important factors in helping me succeed and thrive through these transitions was finding, building, and fitting into communities.
In my search for a growth year, I stumbled upon Johnson Service Corps. What especially drew me to the program was the aspect of intentional community living. When I first walked through the doors of our house, I had a vague idea of what this would be like: three meals together a week, shared living space, shared food budget, conversation, and a slither of hope that it would turn into a chosen community and friendship. Through our entertaining walks around Carrboro, long informative conversations, tea making, game nights, and weekend outings, bonds continue to form in intricate ways that promote community. Almost two months into the program I am extremely grateful to say that I strongly believe there have been lifelong friendships formed in our house.
For the past two months, I have been working at Club Nova. I am continuously in awe of the community that exists within Club Nova and the benefits that come along with it. Club Nova provides a space where members who have mental illnesses are welcome to authentically be themselves and given the chance to participate in a work ordered day. This unique model has been shown to give individuals confidence and a boost in self-esteem. This is a key piece of Club Nova’s work in a society that still holds so much stigma and barriers for individuals who have a mental illness. I am privileged to be a part of Club Nova where I constantly see the abilities of each and every individual.
This year does not follow the typical trajectory of what success looks like. Everyday that I am part of these chosen communities I am eternally thankful and mindful that I get to go on this journey, walking alongside some of the most amazing people I have met so far in my life.