By Elaine Hsiang
P-O-W-E-R We have the power ‘Cause we are the selective My name is _____ (yeah) And I’m the best on the list (uh huh) And I got the power ‘Cause I do it like this (s/he does it like this)
One by one, Scholars and VISTAs introduced themselves (by name and dance!) through this energizer at our first-ever ServiceWorks Bootcamp on January 30 to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr Day.
The ServiceWorks Bootcamp condensed what is typically five curriculum modules, two service projects, and one Capstone project into one day. The Bootcamp allowed thirteen participating Scholars to attend multiple mini workshops, perform icebreakers, and create portable projects to learn more about leadership development, college and career preparation, and community service. Our Scholars were the first to launch our Boston Cares ServiceWorks social media campaign, #thruservicecomeschange, and posted on personal social media about their handmade braided dog toys for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, hygiene kits for those living in shelters, and handcrafted Valentine’s Day cards for New England Center and Home for Veterans.
A month before the ServiceWorks Bootcamp, our ServiceWorks VISTA team (D’Andre Young, Maria Grande, Priscilla Azaglo, Jerry Pyram, and me) were dedicated to planning the logistics of the day. Several youth had expressed interest in participating in ServiceWorks, but couldn’t attend the weekly time commitment required by our host sites. Because the majority of expressed interest came from Sociedad Latina youth, we decided to host our first Bootcamp at Sociedad Latina. Our five ServiceWorks VISTAs combined efforts for the Bootcamp run-of-show, recruited Scholars and volunteers, and foraged for food options. By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I couldn’t wait to meet and greet our Scholars!
The day was long and busy, but smiling Scholars left Sociedad Latina clutching certificates, cupcakes, and their new ServiceWorks beanies. I overheard several Scholars exclaiming how fun their Saturday at Bootcamp had turned out!
This was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences of my VISTA year. I am proud to have been able to engage Scholars in their creativity– making dog toys, writing lists of personal goals, and discussing how to become a more-inspired community.
What follows below is a visual snapshot of our day. Please enjoy it as much as we did!
Scholars and VISTAs are seen here gathering for a warm welcome and opening ice-breakers.
A few of our ServiceWorks Scholars eager to brainstorm community solutions!
Dominique, a Sociedad Latina staff volunteer, is seen engaging Scholars during Module 4 (Communication and Networking).
Scholars and Volunteers are seen crafting Valentine’s Day cards for homeless vets.
D’Andre Young, ServiceWorks VISTA, puts long arms to work to nab us a Bootcamp selfie.
Jerry Pyram and D’Andre Young, ServiceWorks VISTAs, pose with our awesome supervisor, Elsa Freer. These are some of the people who helped make this day happen!
ServiceWorks is currently in its second year of a three-year, ten-city national initiative powered by Points of Light, Citi Foundation, and AmeriCorps. In Boston, this is its first year being housed at Boston Cares. If you would like to serve as a volunteer for the ServiceWorks program, please sign up here. If you are a youth organization in Boston interested in running ServiceWorks at your agency, please contact Elaine Hsiang, ServiceWorks Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-422-0910 x214.