I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader with Arizona Serve from 2008 to 2010. During my VISTA year, I served with Youth Count in Prescott Valley and the Governor’s Office in Phoenix. During this time, I helped develop a volunteer website for youth in Yavapai County, and also assisted in the development of collaborative leadership programs for those serving in VISTA, NCCC, and State/National. In 2009, I became VISTA Leader in Prescott and worked alongside Arizona Serve founder Maggie Garvey to write for additional federal funding and expand the reach and focus of the organization. During this time, Arizona Serve facilitated and secured partnerships with organizations and mobilized diverse communities to address poverty, issues of economic security, and other community needs. After my VISTA Leader term of service, I moved to Boston for graduate school. Today, I work in budget and policy office for the state of Massachusetts and directly advise state leaders to help ensure effective and efficient public policies.
I think of my time with Arizona Serve fondly and often. My experience allowed for professional development opportunities while working within and alongside many top-tier public organizations. In addition, the opportunities for personal development during a term of service should not be understated. National service, and in particular the training components of Arizona Serve, gives those interested in a career in public service a distinct set of tools, perspectives, and values that they are able to carry with them, as I do today. This emphasis on the development of public leaders, as well as the primary importance of building community, sets Arizona Serve apart from other programs throughout the country.