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National Service
APAC Program

A Day and A Life of An AmeriCorps Member

Member Name: Kirsten Axberg
Campus: Cal Poly SLO, APAC Program

The APAC program has provided me with beneficial, meaningful experiences. I am currently in the multiple subject credential program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. My courses are focused on helping students achieve in all subject areas. I have found it very valuable and rewarding to put my learned strategies into practice as an APAC member. My school site is known as a continuation high school. The students come from many different backgrounds but all have one desire: to graduate from high school. I have learned the value in motivation and confidence. The students I work with thrive on motivation from peers/teachers and desire to know that others have confidence in who they are and what they can become. As a future teacher I have learned the importance of assessing my future students’ needs and guiding them to success. My time as an APAC tutor has caused me to learn and grow as well. I have learned how to approach students, encourage them and help them reason through their ideas. I have also learned to simply listen to them and their desires as a student and future graduate. The APAC program is beneficial in that it teaches others to care about one another, guide one another and strengthen others through the learning process.

The biggest impact that this experience had on me was knowing that I am not just another person in their classroom, but that I am someone that they look up to, and trust. This also showed me that I could make a difference as a role model in their academic future. I have learned a number of skills that I will be able to practice as a teacher in my educational career, and I can attribute these experiences to being an AmeriCorps member. -Warren Bisel, CSU Bakersfield, APAC Program

Member Name: Saundra Jones
Campus: CSU Stanislaus, APAC Program

My great story is about the volunteer work I did with the Hunger Network. I went into the Hunger Network never having volunteered before. I assumed I would do the minimum and be done with it since I have two jobs and go to school full time. I assumed wrong. The event I participated in with the Hunger Network was the March for Poverty. It benefits local food banks and shelters. I went to see the president of the organization and jumped into unthreaded waters.

The goal of the march was to raise $5000. I took an active part in raising funds. I went businesses that I knew or was a customer for and ended up raising $350 in sponsorships. Then I went to all the people I know or work with and raised $200.50 in pledges. This is far beyond what was asked of me, but knowing that I was capable of helping the community was pleasure in it’s self. I raised ten percent of the goal. I feel that is remarkable and if everyone would have put the same effort forward we would have reached our goal. Unfortunately we came up $1500 short. I am now a permanent member of the Hunger Network. I will continue to do my part for my community just for the pleasure of knowing that I can make a difference as one individual.

Member Name: Shauna Van Houten,
Campus: CSU Stanislaus, APAC Program

I was astonished at how wide spread poverty is in, and around the
Community I live in. By arranging and participating in this event, I have made a difference and helped to feed those that may have done without. All of the proceeds raised have gone directly to the programs that help to support those who live in poverty, not needless overhead functions. This event was photographed and on the front page of the local journal, and hopefully those that witnessed the activity through whatever mediums take it upon themselves to give a little of what they have. I know that this one time event has impacted me greatly. I will be more sensitive to people's plight and continue to donate my time and effort to this and other charity activities that reach out to the less fortunate. I may not personally have everything I desire in life, but I have mountainous things compared to others. While the individuals I helped through this event are "nameless" to me personally, they are a part of the world we live in, and deserve a better existence.

Member Name: Robert Altmiller
Campus: CSU Bakersfield, APAC Program

As an AmeriCorps member I feel I have many responsibilities toward my peers and the other members of my community. From the short while I have been a newly initiated AmeriCorps member, I have had many great experiences; with the joy students bring me in the classroom and outside the classroom where I get to help out the community with my peers. Currently, Kemp has started a wonderful project collecting school supplies for the needy children of Arvin schools. I am excited to participate in this activity because I know I am helping out the community in a very positive way. I plan on taking my own action to get as many school supplies as I can for these children who sometimes don't even have a pencil to write with. I will make my own effort to help out these children to the best of my ability and find other people who would like to offer their assistance and kind generosity.

Member Name: Allison Helwich
Campus: CSU Fullerton, APAC Program

While "making a difference" sometimes seems like a daunting and impossible task, providing hope or encouragement to just one person is really all it takes to make a difference, even if it is only a small one. This is something I try to remember on a day-to-day basis when I serve as a role model and instructor for high school students as a CAPI Learning Assistant. From volunteering at the men's shelter, I also realized that hope comes in many forms: it can take the form of a preacher's encouragement, a stranger's kind words, or even a warm meal prepared by people who care. All of these forms of providing hope are valid and necessary, no matter how trivial they might seem. Finally, going to the men's shelter reaffirmed my belief in the importance of education.

Member Name: Layla Safari Forooshari
Campus: CSU Fullerton, APAC Program

On November 23, 2002, I was able to donate five hours of my Saturday morning, helping the Serve Club at Kraemer Middle School in Placentia, California beautify their school campus. I was actually unaware that the young adults working alongside me were all members of a community service organization. I thought that they were students being punished, serving "Saturday School" instead of serving their community. It was a wonderful feeling to know they were there because they wanted to be. Nobody forced them into this. Working side by side with all of these good people and hearing their personal stories, made me feel really good inside. Knowing that we were all in this together, striving for the same goal created this sense of unity and togetherness- this is something I will always carry with me. I only hope others can be so lucky as to experience something like this.

Member Name: Ryan Ramos
Campus: CSU Fullerton, APAC Program

Every experience in itself is a life lesson. Some experiences are in fact more impact full than others. It is these meaningful experience that initiate personal growth and a better understanding of one's core beliefs. While there has obvious benefits to the individual it is also an awakening. This was the case with my experience at the Men's Shelter. It has been a while since I have been forced to analyze my personal beliefs. But, this is exactly what happened during my experience. Allow me to illustrate this. I always thought that I gave everyone a fair chance, not categorizing individuals on face value. But, in fact, I did just that the moment I arrived at the shelter. I saw the individuals not as equal individuals but as lacking social equivalence. This was an eye opener to me for I had not realized prior to my experience that I held such beliefs. This I imagine developed out of my life experiences, where I was not put into such situations and maybe even avoided them. The interesting thing is that I spent much of my life volunteering, but never really exposed myself to experiences involving those often forgotten by society. If nothing else I am a bigger person inside and more receptive to my own personal biases.

Member Name: Shilita Montez
Campus: CSU Long Beach, APAC Program

During my experience with AmeriCorps and the California State
University, Long Beach high school tutoring program, I have had many successes and poignant moments that have brought me great satisfaction. I can proudly say that my name is on the relatively short list of people who truly love their jobs! One of these satisfying moments came when I helped students to prepare their graduation portfolios. I learned a lot about today's young people and how they view the world. Several of the students shared personal heartaches and revelations and we were able to comprise portfolios that were rich with stories that revealed the successes and failures of this country's future leaders. I continue to hope that others will have the opportunity to experience the growth that comes from helping others.

Member Name: Jenny Flores,
Campus: CSU Sacramento, APAC Program

There are so many schools in need of our help. I think that was the biggest eye opener. As non-credentialed students I wasn't aware of just how much we are able to help and it feels so good to know how much I am utilized and appreciated in these schools. The needs of these children are so great that I can tell every little bit helps. The most inspiring experience I have had, so far, was when I taught three children an easy way to remember specific multiplication tables, certain facts that they were not grasping.

After spending weeks with them they not only learned the facts that they were having trouble with, but my supervisor commented to me that the children’s teacher mentioned how well their multiplication, overall had improved. Just an hour a day with someone can do so much.

Member Name: Bertha Perez
Campus: CSU San Bernardino, APAC Program

I took a position as a tutor thinking that I was going to help kids learn. I never imagined how much they would actually teach me. They have taught me that patience; understanding and going that extra mile make all the difference. An example of this would be the story of a boy I tutored in a 6th grade classroom.

He wasn't motivated to do his class work or homework. I couldn't understand why. I was present at a parent conference and I spoke to the mother. She explained that he had been acting differently ever since his baby sister was born. I then realized that attention was the key to motivation. I began to work with him after school and giving him a little more attention than usual. He soon became more motivated and I notice he turns in more work. It's situations like this that make me realize sometimes it's the little things that can give a child an extra push towards success.

Member Name: Pa Moua
Campus: San Diego State University, APAC Program

Sometimes, the hardest things for children to do are to speak out and voice their opinions. Most of the time, children face dangerous issues, especially at the age of 6th through 8th graders. They keep in all their emotions and problems to themselves, because of their inability to speak out. They don't want to break the code of silence. Many students face this problem, so they bring in worse conditions to their own well-being. Well, to bring out students' voices and opinions, there was an event called Challenge Day that happened at my school site, Monroe Clark Middle School. I volunteered to be a facilitator of this one-day event, and I played along, acting and experiencing everything as though I was one of the students. Through this event, I was able to gain self-control and breaking the code of silence, like everyone else. I realized the issues that students had in their school grounds-sexism, racism, violence, etc. After a few sad stories, the students started to realize their conflicts and understand them. They spoke out saying that they do not want such issues involved around their school. They opened up their hearts, and supported each other when there were tears. They shared stories of how they were victims of the violence or racisms. They promised each other not to bring about the same issues and confessed what they did wrong. They let go of all the oppressions that they had inside themselves. I let go of what I felt, and admired how these children were so brave. I admired the way there was so much energy, support and love for each other. I realized myself that these children were the future, and they can make a difference by enlightening themselves and leading others. They had experienced an impacting and effective event that will hold peace to their world if they followed it. I learned the values of their stories and feelings, and promised myself to understand the problems in our community, but yet to resist having them in my life.

Member Name: Norma Edith Woo
Campus: San Diego State University, APAC Program

Last year I volunteered for the Compact for Success at San Diego State. I managed to give a tour of the campus to a small group of parents and students. Among those parents there was a mother who was fascinated with my life as a college student. She was questioning me from left to right. With every answer she felt a little more at ease and felt that her son was on the right path. At the end of the day she hugged me and told me that she hoped to see me again some day. Long and behold, this year's event for Compact for Success I see the same parent with her other daughter. She greeted me with a big smile. She said that my presence made her feel, as she was welcomed back home. I will never forget those words. I finally understood that no matter what kind of volunteer work you do, there will always be someone whom who make a difference to. Now I see this parent at least once a week in the school I work at and she always seems to appreciate my work and aspirations. I guess she sees in my future of her children.

Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
Technical Contact:
webmaster@calstate.edu

Last Updated: April 29, 2008