Tia Powell, a graduate of Aurora University who is currently completing a term of service with AmeriCorps as a College Possible coach, explains why she chose to join AmeriCorps.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This quote speaks to the reason I chose to sign up for a term of service with AmeriCorps.
When I was a junior at Hamilton High School I started in a program called College Possible. I wanted to go to college but didn’t really think I could do it. I was smart but not motivated. My College Possible coach saw that darkness in me and transformed it into light. She pushed me and made me believe that I could go to college. She gave me light but also showed me love. When I finally graduated college, I decided that I wanted to give back to the organization that helped me. I felt like I owed them my life. I too wanted to be that light. I want to make an impact in the lives of my students.
When I first started working at College Possible, I had my pick of any position: working with high school students, planning events or supporting students in college. I chose to become a college coach. In this role, I check in with students and help them with anything that might get in the way of their continuing college. I also reach out to students who have left college to see if they want to go back to school and if they need help to do so.
I chose the position because I believe a college coach is like a candle; a light that is there when you need it. I was wrong though. A college coach’s light is bigger than a candle, more like a light post. A college coach is a light that is bright and guides students through the darkness.
What I have also come to realize is that even though I picked the position of college coach, that is not all I am limited to. This is best described by one of College Possible’s guiding principles, the idea of “striving to be delightful.” This means we go above and beyond, in the name of being delightful and working to solve problems.
As a college coach I help college students, but it is also part of my job to substitute for high school coaches if someone is out sick. We are involved in recruiting new students into the program. We lead talks to eighth graders and freshmen on the importance of college. We also help out in the community.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day all of us went out into the community and served our community. A day of service to me is the definition of striving to be delightful. We are all taking the day off and giving back. We are in public showing how delightful we can truly be. Apart we are not as bright, but together we are the bright light that drives out the darkness.