This piece was written by Community Partners Team member, Erik Zawodniak.
My service with College Possible Milwaukee has been an eye-opener. Eight months into my service, I have already learned much about what barriers students from low-income backgrounds face and what we are doing to lessen those barriers. From shouldering financial costs to struggling to fit in at institutions that traditionally have not served students like them, our scholars are incredibly persistent as they strive after their goals. I and other AmeriCorps members assist them by locating scholarships, organizing campus visits, and counseling them on their school and career options.
A memorable moment of service was our visit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We had the most scholars on this trip, and I enjoyed talking to them and seeing them interact with staff at the resource fair. I was so happy to see some of our coaches speak on a panel. Their experiences reaffirmed that our AmeriCorps members have similar experiences to scholars. This visit reminded me that we provide extraordinary support to scholars.
Service has thus led me to feel more in touch with the community. Because of my experience with College Possible Milwaukee, I better understand the challenges in Milwaukee and how I want to proceed with my career. This has been very helpful as an east coast transplant new to Milwaukee. Being in a new city and serving can be tough but very rewarding. As a person who likes to challenge himself, I want to continue with AmeriCorps service and I encourage others with a spirit of service to explore these kinds of opportunities.
After concluding service with College Possible Milwaukee, Erik will begin his next service term with Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. He will work directly with community members supporting Sixteenth Street’s mission to improve the health and well-being of their patients and the community.