Hello everyone! My name is Catina Corella. I’m an AmeriCorps State member, I recently began serving as the Student Ambassador coordinator for twenty-one Student Ambassadors. Our Student Ambassadors serve in nine different high schools across Tucson and Nogales. It is my privilege to help these students develop and refine their professional skills. During MLK Day of Service, I was able to witness the skills these Student Ambassadors already possess.
I had the opportunity meet many of the Student Ambassadors I will be working with throughout my service year at MLK Day. One of our Palo Verde High School Student Ambassador’s, Eric Oum, was the emcee of our MLK Day opening ceremony. Oum put together a moving tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., as well as introducing all the guest speakers.
After the opening ceremony, we moved forward to the educational workshop series. These workshops were offered primarily by AmeriCorps members, ranging from topics about allyship to conflict resolution. Each workshop related to a theme of one of MLK's many legacies. During this portion of MLK Day, I was able to meet and talk briefly with other Palo Verde Student Ambassadors. They and other Palo Verde students were extremely helpful in directing volunteers to workshops hosted in classrooms. When the workshops were in session, the Palo Verde team quickly unloaded and reorganized the tools needed to get Palo Verde’s projects done.
Following the educational workshop series, we began transitioning to service projects. There were seven sites hosting service projects: Higher Ground, Notting Hill Apartments, Alvord Court Apartments, Santa Rita High School, Palo Verde High School, Catalina High School, Pueblo High School, and Mission Gardens. The Student Ambassadors were eager to pick projects and help their peers choice their projects.
What resonated with me was how willing everyone was to accommodate the new layout of the service projects after our site hosts, Frannie Neal and Brandon DiGregorio, had to rearrange some projects. Project leads were introduced, teams were arranged and projects were briefly explained. Thanks to our diligent volunteers, courtyard doors were repainted, trash was picked up, Palo Verde’s new College and Careers Center was painted, and all the Thank You cards for the sponsors and everyone who made this day possible were neatly folded! Mayor Jonathan Rothschild even stopped by talk with our volunteers!
MLK Day of Service allowed me to glance into the work ethic of the students and staff I’ll be working with in the near future. Seeing their personal drive and passion for their community makes reminds me that passion is what steers all of us in what we do. I’m excited and honored to be able to work with Student Ambassadors and can’t wait to see them reach their full potential!