Inside Americorps: Interview with Rosalind Freeze

I stumbled upon Rosalind Freeze at the beginning of my junior year at my Work-Study position in the Rudy Gelnett Memorial Library in downtown Selinsgrove. When I first saw her, I just assumed she was another high-school volunteer my bosses hired. In getting to know her I realized 3 things: 1- She is an Americorps Volunteer, 2- She is extremely hard-working 3- She is extremely intelligent. We've had to work closely together for many projects and I have to admit that before meeting her, I didn't know anything about Americorps. Now she's given me more information.

A: "So what actually is Americorps?"

Rosalind: "Americorps is a service organization run through the government. It is basically the domestic Peacecorps. They find individuals in the community who want to get involved and serve in their community and place them at different service sites that directly help people. Places like shelters, libraries, YMCA's, Rec centers, etc. The individuals that serve get a small living stipend and an educational award at the end of service."

A: "How long do you serve for?"

R: "Most terms are for a full year. But there are some terms the can be just the summer, 6 months, etc. It mostly depends on the position you apply for. You can serve for up to four terms."

A: "So why did you chose Americorps?"

R: "I had heard about Americorps quite a bit growing up because my uncle had served. I heard about it a lot as I was leaving high school through him and my mom. I didn't really know what I wanted to do because I was at a job that just wasn't working for me at that moment. I was looking for new jobs and I stumbled upon a few Americorps positions and I applied."

A: "How do you like this position so far, at the library?"

R: "I really like it. I think it has given me a lot of professional experience which was what I was looking to get out of this position. It's also kind of a creative outlet and has helped me look into what I want to do with my life. The work environment is great and that's always a plus."

A: "So what do you do in your position here at the library?"

R: "I'm here to help improve healthy futures in the community, so I'm supposed to be doing programming that sparks interest in healthy practices in the community and helps people come into the library. I also am supposed to do work with the Community Garden but most days I am working on reading programs for youth. So today I'm working on Summer Reading Program details and getting readers and speakers into the library for these programs. I do technology lessons to help cater to our patrons that can't afford technology and come in to use computers but also for those who need help."

A: "What is your favorite thing about Americorps? What's your favorite thing about being placed here?"

R: "My favorite thing about Americorps, in general, is the training and experience it gives you. My favorite thing about being placed at the library is getting to try new things. I can come up with what most people will think is a crazy idea but the staff helps me refine and build on my creativity. This position is really about creativity and helping me market that and this experience is really valuable."

A: "Will you renew your Americorps term?"

R: "I haven't quite decided whether or not I'm going to do so. I'm waiting to see what other Americorps positions open, both locally and around the country. I would love to stay here at the library but I would also like to challenge myself a bit more and gain new experiences. I'm also looking at other jobs and opportunities outside of Americorps."

A: "Would you recommend Americorps to others?"

R: "I think it would depend on the situation each person is in. I am fortunate enough to have the support of my parents to help me along with what Americorps pays. For people who come from different financial situations, it depends on that. But I would recommend it to anyone who wants to gain new and different experiences and step out of their comfort zones."