Saying Goodbye to our AmeriCorps Class of 2018/2019!
By Maddie Interdonato
Last August, 20 people traveled from places like Massachusetts, Nevada, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, and Michigan, only to land in this wonderful valley that they have called home during their service. They have spent the past 11 months serving communities in the San Luis Valley, and today, their time with us ends.
It takes a lot for someone to drop everything and move somewhere completely new, away from their families, friends, and comfort zone. But these 20 people did it, just like the 3 AmeriCorps classes before them. They have become one of many, fondly dubbed “green shirts” by kids we serve, recognizable from a mile away.
The first few weeks of service was spent getting to know each other, the organization, and the valley. The members received trainings on subjects such as Love and Logic, Project Wild, Colorado School Safety, Positive Youth Development, Random Acts of Kindness, and more. After two weeks, they finally delved into service at their sites from Salida to Antonito.
Our members were placed at 16 different sites ranging from schools, partner organizations, and community centers. Although the experiences of each were very different, they all had one thing in common: they were there for the kids. During their terms, they forged relationships with the students they saw each day in and out of classrooms, creating lasting memories and impacts on both themselves and the children.
Aside from their service with youth, they also got to experience new things such as rock climbing at Penitente, ice climbing with the Adams State Adventure Program, weekends skiing/snowboarding at Monarch Mountain, snowshoeing up to the Continental Divide (or attempting to), exploring the Taos Pueblo, checking out hidden pictographs from the Ute indians, singing their hearts out in Saguache at karaoke, summiting 14ers, hanging with gators at the Colorado Gator farm, running marathons, stumbling up the Great Sand Dunes, making the trek to Red Rocks, soaking at the hot springs, rafting in raging waters, camping under the stars…
To our Graduates: we hope that you look back at this year fondly. We hope that you remember the struggles and realize how strong you are for overcoming them. We hope that you continue to look for adventure everywhere you go. We hope you remember your experiences and learn from them. We hope that you cherish the relationships you built and the time you spent with your cohort. We hope that you continue to spend time giving back to whatever community you find yourself in. We hope that this experience changed your lives, for the better.
As we say “goodbye” to our members who are headed off on their next journey in life, we say “see you soon!” to the five members who will be returning this August to serve another term in their community of Saguache. We have so much gratitude for each and every one of you for what you have accomplished during your time with Alpine Achievers Initiative. !Hasta luego, amigos!