Apparently there’s a lot of confusion in Kimmel’s video helping Chelsea Clinton promote Americans to serve a year in AmeriCorps. Service is something I feel passionate about so I commented on the video informing folks that national service isn’t just the army and of course someone responded that serving in AmeriCorps isn’t doing anything “good for this country.” I don’t believe in wars point blank because a lot of lives are lost for senseless reasons. America spends so much money on the military that could and should go to other things like education and homelessness.
I spent my summer of 2013 educating at risk youth on healthy eating and coordinating a free summer lunch program. I fed kids who would not eat if it isn’t wasn’t for the free summer lunch program. I taught 13-14 year olds what it meant to have a job through a job readiness program. I took on these kid’s problems and became someone more than their supervisor or mentor but a trusted adult that they could talk to. A lot of teenagers from my neighborhood don’t have that and they appreciated that I gave my time to them and I appreciated that I impacted them even if it was in a small way. I remember when I first walked up to my assigned site and met my mentees and I went home that day frantically telling my mom I had no teaching experience and there was nothing I can teach them. The last day, I saw the growth from the day we met and I almost cried “What are they gonna do without me.”
Sure AmeriCorps paid me a living allowance of $400 every two weeks (after taxes) but I didn’t do it for the money. I spent 450 hours serving a community known as a food desert. Most of them hadn’t thought past high school let alone college. One of them was pregnant, one kid would come up to me every day and tell me how he lived with his sick grandma and he always aspired to be a pilot. I loved listening to their stories knowing I’m from this same community.
I know that the youth are our future and we should invest more in the youth not the military. What’s good for our country is making sure there’s something left for the future.