Learning To Connect: SCI AmeriCorps Orientation and Beyond

On Tuesday morning, September 2nd, over 20 brand new SCI AmeriCorps members arrived at the Great Hall in Dorchester for our first day of orientation and training.

I had spent the month prior trying to reorient myself to the Northeast after spending the last eight years in sunny, polite Tennessee. Without a job or any kind of routine, I meandered through my new hometown of Salem, and the rest of the North Shore, enjoying the natural beauty, the seafood, and the opportunity to sleep in. This might sound like an ideal way to spend the month of August in New England, but I was restless.

My move to Massachusetts and decision to serve with SCI AmeriCorps was part of a larger plan for my life: a plan to become more connected.  Having been surrounded in Nashville by career-minded musicians and community members who were generally disengaged and apathetic about local issues, I craved community with peers who wanted effect change. I wanted to be more connected to my neighbors, to social issues, and to civic life.

By the end of our first day of orientation, I knew that I was well on my way. Not since my college orientation (way back in Y2K) had I been surrounded by people with such a sense of purpose. Though many of us are either figuring out our life paths or making a sharp turn in trajectory, we all share a desire to serve. What I had hoped, and what was affirmed throughout the orientation process, is that AmeriCorps and Social Capital Inc. (SCI) would provide a focus and mission for the idealism we all share.

Throughout last week, we learned the definition and value of social capital and some ways in which it applied to our specific host sites and closely-held causes. We hashed out volunteer recruiting scenarios, brainstormed about realistic ways to locally address manifestations of larger problems. Perhaps most importantly, we learned all kinds of ways, both digitally and physically, to connect.

We are now settling into our roles at our host sites and applying that wealth of information to our everyday service. Already, I’ve been able to help connect organizations to a network of volunteers that can help. When I leave my house in the morning, I walk with a spring in my step. I’m so excited for the rest of this year and will continue to share some stories and thoughts as I have them. Until then, enjoy the fall colors and continue to connect!