I was close to graduating with a degree in political science from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio when I found the UCC YASC program. The countdown was on: I was in my last semester of undergrad and I was struggling to figure out what to do after college. The YASC program had everything I could have asked for: hands-on experience in a non-profit, social justice training, service with a local church, and a focus on intentional community and spiritual growth. I was hooked, and upon further research, I was set on serving with an ecojustice non-profit in Massachusetts.
Fast-forward six months or so and here I am: living in Westford, MA with another volunteer, simultaneously serving at First Parish Church United and also volunteering with the New England Forestry Foundation; splitting my time between spiritual growth, community building, and valuable experience in the non-profit sector. I’m not only growing as a person, I’m also helping others to grow as well as I bring my skills and talents to my local church. I’m not only learning valuable job skills at NEFF, I’m helping to conserve forestland and promote sustainable forestry within the wider New England area.
My work at First Parish Church United is part committee work, part teaching weekly middle school religious education, and part community event volunteering. The folks in the congregation have been so supportive in making sure that my skills are matched with my church service time, and for that I’m so grateful. My work at New England Forestry Foundation is filled with tweets, facebook posts, instagram pictures, and blog posts about sustainable forestry and conservation in the New England area. I spend my days reading studies about forest management, creating strategies to educate New Englanders about the importance of forests in daily life and the role they can play in the future.
I’ve only been at this for a month, and already I can feel myself changing. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!