Last Spring, I was faced with a tough decision. In June, I was accepted into two volunteer programs. The first program, I would have lived in New York City with four other young adults and I would have been working at a homeless shelter for at risk youth between the ages of 16 and 21. The second program promised a similar living situation with three other young adults, but also offered the opportunity to continue to work in radio, something that I thought was worth continuing to pursue. The hiccup with the second program was that I wasn’t going to get the opportunity to live in NYC, I was going to have to relocate to Saint Louis, Missouri, a city that I’ve never thought much about and certainly never considered moving to. I ultimately decided to pass on the NYC program, despite my desire to live in the city, and chose to go the route of working in radio for an additional year.
Perhaps you know how the beginning of my story in Saint Louis ends already, but just in case, here’s the recap. I got to Saint Louis in early August, and within one month, I was well aware that the job I had signed on for was not only going to not be a good fit for me, but if I continued to work there, it would end up being detrimental to my overall health. So, that’s how within one months time I decided to pull the plug and throw caution into the wind. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew whatever was going to become of my situation was going to leave me in a better place than the one I had found myself in with that job. Thankfully, instead of simply being released from the program, my director worked diligently over the next week to find me another job. Within a week, I toured two potential work sites and before the week was done, I knew I had found where I was suppose to be. And that is where I have been ever since…
So, instead of consistently posting about the radio job I thought I would be experiencing, I’ve been juggling just how appropriate it is to blog about my current work site.
Since September, I’ve been working as a full-time “Resident Volunteer” at a small private school in East Saint Louis. My job entails everything from monitoring classes to taking out the trash (although this happens rather infrequently). The position was vacant because a volunteer from a different volunteer program never showed up when school started in August, and so, almost as if it were meant to be, their vacancy and my need for a job worked out perfectly. It’s been smooth sailing ever since…well, sort of. East Saint Louis is known for being a difficult place to live. In fact, it’s home to the highest murder rate in the country – more than twenty time the national average! This is where I go to work everyday, and I love it.
Since September, I’ve transitioned all around our tiny school into different jobs. I can sense on a daily basis how thankful the staff is to have an extra pair of hands at the ready since the school is so understaffed. The small school services Kindergarten through 8th grade and it exists as an oasis for many of the kids. Often, being at school offers them a more comfortable environment than being at home. It’s special to be a part of something as unique as this school. Of course, coming from one of the most dangerous cities in the country, the kids are by no means soft, but rather, walk through the doorway each weekday morning carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.
More on this soon…but, we’re back in business, I’m gonna blog a bit more these next few months!