Around this time last year, I was preparing myself to be a moderator for a panel discussion as part of the annual Mobility 21 Summit in Downtown Los Angeles, which took place on Sept. 6, 2011.
This major transportation conference in southern California brings together elected leaders and industry professionals alike to highlight and address mobility needs in a rapidly-growing region.
The keynote speaker at the summit last year was Ed Rendell, who served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania before being termed out earlier that year. Since he left office, he went on to become one of the co-founders of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of former and current elected leaders nationwide advocating for greater investments into improving our nation’s infrastructure.
I personally had the opportunity to meet Gov. Rendell during a VIP reception following the conclusion of the summit. Although our interaction was brief, it was a noteworthy and honorable moment to meet someone who was well known and influential that championed such a great cause.
This was on Sept. 6, 2011. Little did I expect that around that same time one year later, I will find myself moving to the same state he once served as governor. Little did I also expect that I would find myself moving to the same city he once served as mayor from 1992 to 1999 before becoming governor — Philadelphia.
If you did not know already, I am moving to Philadelphia later this week as I have joined AmeriCorps. Beginning Sept. 4, I will be working with elementary and middle school students at a local school there to assist with tutoring and after-school programs. This is an 11-month program that I have decided to join after consulting with others I know that have served in AmeriCorps combined with my desire to work directly with charitable causes, owing to my years-long support for nonprofit organizations.
As a recent college graduate, I feel it is important to spend this time serving others that need help the most. The unfruitful job search of the first half of this year helped pave the way for something more meaningful in the interim; something that equally benefits myself and the people that I hope to make an impact on.
I have never lived in another state before and any feelings of unease and uncertainty has been remedied by frequent travels to other states in the last two years. I have never been to Philadelphia although I have traveled to New York City and Washington, D.C. for which both cities are equidistant geographically from the city I am moving to. I look forward to revisiting both cities to build my professional network out there in addition to my fulfilling my AmeriCorps duties.
One year ago, I didn’t see this happening. Six months ago, I didn’t see this happening either. What a difference that short amount of time makes.