It’s unbelievable to think that a couple of years ago I had never heard of AmeriCorps. Fast-forward two years and I am now starting my second term of service in the College and Career Access Program at Hope CommUnity Center. After a fast-paced year of discovery, mistakes, and connection, I concluded my year feeling like I was, in fact, far from finished; I was not quite ready to leave my students. As I begin the second year of service with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers AmeriCorps (NDMVA), I look forward to helping the inspiring scholars I work with apply to college, find financial aid, and to proudly cheer them on as the group of predominately first-generation students graduate high school and go to college.

For anyone considering joining NDMVA, I say, DO IT! It is an amazing opportunity that will allow you to grow as a person, explore and solidify your values, and meet people that will have a lasting impact on your life. When I started serving with NDMVA two years ago, I was certain I was going to be an Elementary School Teacher. But, by the end of last year, my career goals have evolved. My work with the College and Career Access Program, and the mentorship I have received from the staff at Hope, like Maggi Noyes, have given me a desire to work with older students and adults to help them access higher education. While my experience with NDMVA has been demanding, it has been well worth the effort.

Being an AmeriCorps member means you will work hard, but you will be driven by a sense of purpose. At times, your worldview will be challenged, but your heart will be stretched–allowing you to love people more. During your year of service, the state of the world might cause you sorrow, but you will not grieve alone–you will walk along this journey with a group of people whose desire is to see this world be a more beautiful and kinder place.

-Elisabet Rivera, College & Career Access Coordinator for Hope CommUnity Center

For any high school seniors or parents who may be reading, the priority deadline for college applications for many area schools is November 1. Apply early and complete your FAFSA to receive priority for scholarships! Need assistance with your applications? The College and Career Access team is happy to help. Give us a call at 407.880.4673 ext 229.