“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”: A MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA’s reflection on the first few months of her service

The past couple of months at Cape Cod Community College have been a whirlwind of activity. I’m cast as the Judy Garland of Massachusetts and I find myself looking around muttering, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” That isn’t to suggest that my time hasn’t been spent productively. We live in exciting times out on the Cape and I am happy to share a few of the goings-on with you all.

When I first arrived at my location I felt like a shiny new toy. I was shown around and introduced to what seemed like hundreds of people. It very well might have been for all I can remember of those first few days. But my colleagues were kind and welcoming and helpful. I was accepted into the fold without hesitation, making it much easier to feel like I was able to make the demands on people’s time and generosity that is necessary to be an effective VISTA. I spent a bit of time simply getting oriented with my new home institution, its history, people, policies, and new initiatives. I was pleased to hear about all the wonderful things that are budding here at the college. It’s easier to want to make a garden when you know you aren’t the only thing trying to grow.

Since September I have been in and out of classrooms, student senate meetings, and student club meetings promoting our Service Learning program and Service Learning opportunities at Cape Cod Community College. I have also been hosting and attending professional development workshops geared toward faculty and staff to familiarize them with the Service Learning pedagogies and methodologies. It has been my goal to make connections with those who can sustain the college’s efforts even after my term of service has ended. Additionally, I have attended public forums on Civic Engagement and Civic Education and public networking events. I want to get a real sense of where the public stands on these issues. Who are the key players? Who do I need to know to ensure that our efforts have the greatest impact?

Many of the community partners that I work with have joined into these conversations. At Cape Cod Community College I am collaborating most closely with ACCCESS, the Freedom from Addiction Network, Horizons for Homeless Children, and the National Marine Life Center. These four agencies touch many different sectors of the population and I am thrilled to be able to work with such a diverse group of organizations. Later in November I will be hosting a Community Partner Roundtable Luncheon that will bring representatives from each of these groups together to discuss issues related to collaborating with our community’s college. I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts and ideas about how to move these partnerships ahead.

Best,

Stacey Sexton

MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA

Service Learning Resources Programming Coordinator

Cape Cod Community College

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