An AmeriCorps program connecting service members and under-resourced communities throughout Washington state
My name is Lindsay and I am an AmeriCorps member serving at Solid Ground in Seattle through the Washington Service Corps. As a Food and Garden Youth Educator, it is my job to teach food and nutrition classes at schools and community centers that serve food insecure children.
Through the past four months of my service term, I have been amazed by the students I get to interact with each and every day. I love that my day-to-day activities are always changing: I’ve gotten to hold a relay race based on nutrition fact labels, teach students how to hold a knife for the first time, and watch kids pull a radish they’ve grown out of the ground—and the total amazement on their faces every time! It is incredibly gratifying work to be able to introduce new experiences to the students I work with – and to have new experiences myself along the way.
One moment that stands out to me was at Marra Farm, a learning space we have for kids to explore the way food grows (and to get their hands dirty, of course!) While most of our students who visit the farm come from low-income areas or are otherwise experiencing hardship in their lives, we occasionally have students from more affluent private schools visit to do service-learning trips to the farm. On these service-learning trips the kids go on a tour of the farm to learn about its history and current day uses.
The farm is in a public park, and we ask the kids what they usually find at the park. The answers are usually: play structures, swings, water fountains, bathrooms, basketball courts, etc. After they create this list, we ask them to look around and see if Marra-Desimone Park has any of these amenities. (It doesn’t, not even bathrooms). The kids are quiet as they take this information in, but slowly the comments come: “That’s not fair!,” “Why don’t they have anything here?,” and other thoughts. For these kids to think about justice and access to resources in a tangible setting is a powerful experience for them, and one I hope they’ll keep with them. Being able to facilitate these conversations and the learning they inspire is an important part of my service with AmeriCorps, and something I am proud to contribute to.