AmeriCorps*VISTA Leaders have completed 1-2 years of VISTA service and chosen to take on a leadership role in national service. They recruit, support, and mentor the team of VISTA members at their site.
Written by K. Breathett, GHCC’s VISTA Leader.
I believe in destiny and following my dreams to where they may lead, so when a fellow VISTA told me about a VISTA Leader opening at Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC), I jumped at the chance. I had heard a lot about GHCC and their work with the community, and I decided to shadow the current VISTA Leader to learn more. I found out GHCC has many parts all working together to meet a common goal. This was a wonderful example of what a functioning organization should look like, but it was also a challenge to try to understand how each body part functioned.
I am a perfectionist, but not all the time. I don’t know if you can be a sometime perfectionist, but that is how I would classify myself: a sometime perfectionist who is hardest on herself. Average is not something that I strive for – I strive to get results. The only problem is, sometimes I believe those results should be generated overnight.
Being a perfectionist who expects a lot from herself, I almost drove myself batty during my first week here, attempting to figure out who does what and how they fit into this moving structure. After all, I am the one who will be looked to for answers. Every time I found an answer to one question, a new question would pop up. The wonderful body of GHCC seemed to become intensely complex. I began to panic. It wasn’t that I didn’t know where to find the answers; it was having to ask questions that made me worry. I know this logic seems backwards, but remember, I am a perfectionist who expects to know the answers to today yesterday. Unfortunately, yesterday was when the training for 12 new VISTAs was to be planned.
We have 12 new VISTAs coming into our organization and I, being new also, have to plan a significant training for them. I am relying cooperation from the VISTAs’ supervisors to plan and present something that will be helpful for the VISTAs as they begin their service. It has been eventful, but the only problem so far has been reminding me to double check all the plans to make sure that they fit together well.
It just took me six years to find out how I wanted to use my gifts. Not everyone can be a VISTA. It is a conscious life choice that we make. We decide to live on near poverty wages, we decide to work tirelessly for little to no recognition, we decide to stay and work at whatever issue there may be until we finish. But I am learning that being a perfectionist means that at times I have to be gentle with myself. It is hard trying to learn everything about an organization and having so many people rely on me for answers. The great thing is that there are so many splendid people at GHCC who are willing to take the time out to answer my questions and to remind me to breathe. I am excited to meet 12 new personalities in a few weeks. I am grateful that I will get to witness their growth as individuals. We will get a chance to learn together. No one starts out in the world already knowing how to read – they must first learn letters, and then words.