Every August, College Possible welcomes hundreds of new AmeriCorps members across the country. Here in Oregon, we’re welcoming 37 new people to our team — and I couldn’t be more excited!
Our entire team will spend three weeks training, building community and getting prepared for the school year ahead. We call this time Welcome Weeks and it’s essentially a very intense orientation and onboarding. At the end of those three weeks, AmeriCorps coaches begin calls with students and then they head straight into the school year. It’s a lot to get everyone up to speed in such a short amount of time, but we do it every year — it just looks and feels a little different now. We no longer all meet in Minnesota for a full week of training together as an organization, we do all the training here in Oregon with our own team leading a hybrid of virtual and in-person sessions. We have the benefit of a year of virtual programming under our belts and know that while this situation is not ideal, we CAN do it.
When I think about the year ahead, I am excited and full of hope. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you there were also some nerves mixed in. We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, there’s no denying that. Once school is in full swing, who knows what adjustments will need to be made. Schools and districts are doing the best that they can, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. That said, we are choosing to be courageous, remain flexible and nimble, and give each other and ourselves grace.
While we made it through last year, we know it’s not the same in a virtual world. We are all anxious to be back in community with one another and especially our students. Nothing builds relationships faster than sharing food, your favorite music, Instagram influencer or TikTok with someone sitting across from you.
We’ve seen the beginning of the impacts that the pandemic has had on students and higher education — and the outlook is frightening. Especially for our Black and brown students where the opportunity gap is widening across the country. This year will mean working harder than ever to best support our students and families wherever they’re at. We will have to take this coming year one day at a time. And we will have to take an individualized approach, because everyone is in such different circumstances, comfort levels and anxiety stages.
But with 37 new team members comes a TON of new energy, a revitalization of passion for the work and a recommitment to the importance of education equity for our communities. I’m excited to be welcoming this new team of AmeriCorps members who are dedicating the next 10 months of their lives to College Possible and to our students. Welcome to the team!
College Possible Oregon