Madison Link is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving as the Program Coordinator with G.E.M. Environmental.

Being an AmeriCorps VISTA based in Prescott, Arizona has been an amazing experience. The town is beautiful and there have been so many opportunities to get involved with the community. In the past four months, I have become part of the local chess club as well as gotten involved in the Prescott Center or the Arts as a novice actor. I have also become a lot more outdoorsy and found a passion for rock climbing. It’s hard not to be amazed at the sights of the Dells and climbing a cliff to get a good view of the scenery has become one of my favorite activities!

In addition to the amazing community activities, the people in my AmeriCorps cohort have been a major source of support since I have arrived. Moving from Georgia to Arizona was a big change, and I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been without the remarkable group of people in my cohort. It is incredible to be surrounded by people who want to make a positive impact in the world and have dedicated a year of their life to make that change. Although we sometimes whine about how difficult it is to live on such a small stipend, I do not think any of us regret taking the year to make a real impact through all our different organizations.

The organization that I work with is called GEM Environmental, an educational non-profit that helps create educational opportunities for students through field experiences, internships and scholarships. Working with this organization has been life changing because I get to make a real and sustainable impact in the Prescott education system. Working as the Program Coordinator for GEM Environmental, I
have created STEM days for elementary schools, where the students learn about science, technology, engineering and math through hands on activities. I have also helped build the GEM for STEM lecture series, where college students get to learn about different STEM careers through professionals in the STEM fields. These are just two out of five projects that I am helping to create and expand for my organization.

In addition to the work being rewarding, I have also found the people at the organization to be extremely generous and kindhearted. From the beginning, the people at GEM Environmental have treated me with respect and thoughtfulness. They listen to my opinions, teach me about their personal missions and always include me in program decisions. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to spend an entire year working with these incredible people to make incredible mission realized.







(Madison and two of Arizona Serve’s State AmeriCorps Members, Kali Plummer and Alex Monksfield, serving with G.E.M. Environmental)