This is Why We Give

photoYou only have one life to live, so use it wisely. Alyssa and I were a couple of years out of college when we decided to commit to serving a year as AmeriCorps VISTA members. I wanted to utilize some of my dusty unused skills and learn others, Alyssa wanted to be challenged and be a part of a movement that was bigger than herself, and we had both decided long ago that we wanted to give back to the community in a truly meaningful and fulfilling way.

We had both started volunteering when we were young, and now as adults, we understand the impact that those experiences can have on you. The broadening of perspectives, the understanding of what you are truly capable of, and the feeling that you really, truly play an integral role in building your community—these were all important parts of forming who we are as citizens today. Serving with YVC seemed a natural fit.

So we set to work, and over the past year we have had the opportunity to place the foundation for several capacity-building projects here at YVC Headquarters. We have brainstormed and questioned, we have learned and we have grown. This year we gave of ourselves, but not without getting something in return. We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to meet—and be connected to—an amazing network of AmeriCorps members that are making a real impact every day, and an incredible network of Youth Volunteers, Program Directors and Team Leaders that have moved and inspired us both. This year has been a roller coaster, but with all of the ups and downs, the challenges and rewards of serving with a nonprofit organization, it is these people who have made it all worth it.

IMG_4095Today we complete our year of service, our pet projects percolating for the next amazing VISTAs to continue to develop and make better. Although our year of service with YVC may be done, and we are not quite sure what our futures have in store, we know that we are ready to continue to serve our communities. When you give of yourself amazing things can happen—to those that you help and to yourself. You only have one life to live, this is why we give.

Why do you give? Snap an unselfie and share it with the hashtag #LivetoGive. Find more details about unselfies, Giving Tuesday, and how to have your donation doubled here.

A huge thanks to Kirsten Overby (the author of this post) and Alyssa Thiel for devoting a year of their lives to serve as AmeriCorps VISTA members with YVC!