During my senior year at St. Edward’s University as an English Literature major, I had the opportunity to apply for a paid internship with the Partnership Department of Communities in Schools in Central Texas. I was preparing for what was sure to be the most stressful semester of my academic career and at the same time, the most exciting. I was writing my thesis on the “Dualistic Perceptions of Guinevere in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur” and felt immersed in that literary world which I admired and desired to belong to.
I must say that my “encounter” with Communities in Schools—and therefore, with the nonprofit sector—was not initially due a natural-born desire to serve my community as perhaps many of my fellow VISTA members have experienced. My encounter with Communities in Schools was, in a way, accidental. I remember during my interview with my current supervisor, I was asked how (or if) I thought my work at CIS would connect to my aspirations and work as a writer. At that moment, I responded that much of what I wrote was about the human experience and that I believed it corresponded (in a way) to the role I would be performing as an intern in the Partnership Department.
After more than a year of serving our CIS families in various positions, I am now as a VISTA for the Basic Needs Department. I can wholeheartedly say that my experience as part of this community has helped me develop as a professional in ways I never imagined. When I think of myself as a writer now, I do not think only of my poems; I think of the ways my skills can help underserved communities. For instance, as part of my role, I have had the privilege of providing Spanish translation for several of our documents, and I am a huge advocate for Spanish/bilingual outreach. In the future, I would love to continue serving to increase the engagement of our Spanish-speaking parents and increasing their awareness and education of the different resources available for them!