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The Highest Reward

August 24, 2012
ImageMy experience this past year was unforgettable. I learned so much in this one year than I could have ever thought possible. I had the privilege of working alongside some exceptional people who introduced me to so much about the world of nonprofits and the extraordinary programs that strengthen a community.

If you had asked me a year ago what I had hoped to gain from my experience as a VISTA, I would have said an adventure. And I got that and so much more. I say adventure because going into this there was just so much that I didn’t know. I had no idea what to expect. You see, I had never even been to Vegas, I didn’t know a single person here, and everything I thought I knew about this community was completely misguided and untrue.

For instance, I thought that a city laced with flashy casinos and seemingly flowing with wealth couldn’t possible have such a large population of people living in poverty. Man was I wrong!  It wasn’t long before I discovered even in a city that glitters like gold there was a need that was too great to be ignored.

Although I played what at many times seemed like a small role in just one program, I never once felt that what I was doing was insignificant.  And there were many days when I would be given an assignment or a task and I would just think to myself, I have no idea what I’m doing!  But at the same time I was really happy to be doing it. And that was what kept it fun for me. It was a constant learning experience.  I was always having to learn a new skill or improvise one. I really love to challenge myself, and I got the chance to do that every single day.  Who would have known that through this experience I would have met so many inspiring people, made some amazing friends, and discovered the leadership characteristics I had no idea I even possessed.

I strongly agree with writer John Ruskin who said “The highest reward for a person’s work is not what they get for it, but what they become because of it.”

(written by Tanerica Brookins, AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni)

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