My name is Emily Jarrett, and I am a Johnson Service Corps Alum from the 2018-2019 cohort! I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2018, nervous about the future and no idea where I was headed. I had applied to a variety of jobs and programs, but honestly, I wasn’t sure about any of them. When I received an offer from JSC, I remember being so frazzled about my decision that I trekked across campus after class one day and planted myself in the JSC office with Christina and then director Aleta. Their warmth and excitement about the possibility of my joining JSC was what drew me to the idea of spending the next year with their guidance, and I’m so glad I took the leap.
I learned so much during my year with JSC. I lived in the Durham house with four other cohort members, and the intentional community we created there will always live on in my heart. We learned, cried, cooked, and laughed with each other; they taught me how to be honest, understanding, and loving in ways that I’d never been before, each of them a unique bright spot in my life. Though we have all gone separate ways and have our own chaotic lives to tend to, we attempt to keep in touch, sending cards and texts and meeting on Zoom when we can. My placement at East Durham Children’s Initiative (now Durham Children’s Initiative) allowed me to realize my passion for working with families and children at the local level. Though the position was often difficult and tiring, my supervisor, co-workers, and little campers made it worthwhile. Overall, the staff at JSC and the many other people who poured into the program made me feel supported as I navigated my next life steps.
After JSC, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ, where I continued with program coordination by working as the Family Caregiver Coordinator with an Area Agency on Aging. My position there pushed me even further, and I realized I didn’t just want to coordinate programs – I wanted to work directly with clients. Now, I am living in Charlotte, NC, about to start my second semester of a Master’s in Social Work program at UNC Charlotte. I hope to transition into working directly with families and children through social services. I could never have come to this point without my year at JSC helping me become more confident in my abilities, more compassionate for others, and more comfortable with the uncertainty of life. As a painting in the Durham house now states: “I am young and hot and I live in a world of abundance.”