I didn’t know what I was getting myself into a year ago when I quit my good paying job and left my childhood house to go to East Harlem and serve for a year as an AmeriCorps member. My experience has taught me to get out of my comfort zone, to show God’s love through my work and to interact with families. It’s taught me that I will not only play a positive role in the lives of strangers, but also that they will forever change mine.
This past year at LSA Family Health Service agency, I worked on event planning, early childhood heart start programs, after-school programming or teaching a media class to adolescent girls. The growth this year of service has enabled me to do is incomparable to any experience I would have received if I had just stayed comfortable and stagnant at home.
One of my most memorable relationships was one I developed with the teen film class, where I taught a video and creative writing course to a handful of adolescent girls. Even though the class was small, the girls were extremely receptive to my lessons. The class became more than just a course to enhance writing and computer skills when the girls started confiding in me about certain problems they faced. Many of the girls came from families where the culture does not allow children to voice their opinions, often suppressing their self-worth to a certain degree. Throughout the class, I witnessed these girls go from shy and reserved individuals to young women with confidence and personality.
One particular day, I had brought my camera to class to teach my students basic camera skills. Each student took a turn acting on camera and directing. One girl was extremely hesitant to go in front of the camera and announced that she wouldn’t participate. After directing her friend and doing some group activities, I noticed as she walked in front of the camera and began posing like a model. Watching this young woman blossom made me smile.
Being part of AmeriCorps allowed me to act as a tool for the girls and, in essence, the East Harlem community. Developing bonds with the families I served help build trusting relationships. Looking back, I feel blessed to have had this opportunity and am proud to say I am AmeriCorps alum!
Tiffany Tubby, Little Sisters of the Assumption Family in Mission
AmeriCorps Placement: LSA Family Health Service
Growing up in an abusive household in New York, Tiffany Tubby never thought she would even graduate high school. In her senior year of high school, she discovered her passion: filmmaking. Working her way through college, she graduated in 2010 with a B.A. from Queens College and worked at Civic Leadership Academy for three years teaching film enrichment courses and acting as Yearbook Advisor for the first graduating class. In 2012, she took a leap of faith and quit her job to move to East Harlem and serve with Little Sisters Family in Mission. Tiffany feels blessed to be able to continue to stay in East Harlem and is excited about where God will take her.