Meet Tara McKenzie. Tara is an AmeriCorps*VISTA member completing a year of service at Success Academy, an middle/high school for Baltimore City students on long-term suspension or expulsion. After completing her undergraduate degree in at Pikeville College in Pikeville, Kentucky, Tara completed graduate studies at University of Bristol in England and University of Sydney in Australia. Following her return from Australia, she decided to come to Baltimore and serve with GHCC! Greater Homewood Voices caught up with her recently to ask her about her experience.
1. Where do you come from? (educational background, home state/town, etc.)
My family was, in many ways, a very typical blue-collar Appalachian family. While we were family of limited means, the generosity my mom and stepfather demonstrated to others was always a shining example of doing “the right thing.” My mother was a construction laborer and union member. She used to always tell my sister and me that “you do what you have to do” and that “any job worth doing is worth doing well.” I merged these mottoes in the development of my own personal philosophy: “If you have the means, and you see the need, do it! Do whatever needs to be done.” While I may not have the ability to bring about change through financial contributions, I do have my education and I have the desire to make a difference. Those are the means I use in fulfilling my VISTA position.