Tasked with engaging and empowering residents to lead revitalization efforts throughout the 20 neighborhoods along the York Road corridor, Nick Jacobsen will end his VISTA term of service next week at the York Road Partnership on a positive note.
I spent my formative years primarily in Chicago, IL and Frederick, MD, but I have also spent considerable time living in Texas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City. I have always found the subject of community governance and collective action fascinating. While attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts, I spent a considerable portion of my time studying how communities create and sustain change at the organizational level. AmeriCorps*VISTA has been the perfect means by which to combine service to a community in need with first-hand experience learning the mechanics of grassroots organizing.
I chose to serve at the York Road Partnership (YRP) because they offered me the opportunity to work with a variety of individuals and neighborhoods, and engage in a wide spectrum of activities. Although there was a set of goals to accomplish before the end of my VISTA term, I could be flexible in how I met them. Organizing work can take a number of forms, so being able to experiment was definitely attractive. Furthermore, YRP is filled with the most passionate, committed, and welcoming people I have ever met. Having the opportunity to work with such a group of admirable people has been my favorite part.
Now that I am at the end of my year of service, my proudest accomplishment has been being able to provide YRP with the structure and tools to sustain itself as a robust, effective, all volunteer organization. As the last of three VISTAs to serve with YRP on this project, preparing the Partnership for “Life after AmeriCorps” was my driving goal. For myself, I would like to continue organizing work, either at home or abroad, and ultimately pursue graduate or doctorate studies.
A final note of advice to other VISTAs: do not become cynical or discouraged because you can’t move mountains over the course of your service year. Though it may not seem so, every little thing you do for your community will resonate for years to come.
Thank you, Nick, for every little thing you’ve done for the YRP, and we at GHCC wish you the best of luck!