It’s been a little more than three months since I made one of the biggest decisions of my life — packing my bags and leaving the state that I have called home for the better part of my life — California — for the East Coast.
Since late August, I have really fallen in love with the city of Philadelphia. I like the sense of identity, culture and the rich history that makes this city unique and admirable in its own ways. It’s also reflective of the entire Northeast region as well — the part of the country I have twice traveled to prior to moving here and have long desired to live here at some point in my future.
Of course, I moved out here to serve a year in AmeriCorps, working with elementary school students who come from low-income backgrounds and providing educational support to these students.
I joined AmeriCorps for two reasons: One, to fulfill a personal goal of mine to work directly in a nonprofit capacity, owing to my long-standing support for nonprofit organizations. Two, the inability to secure a job in public relations earlier this year and seeing the need to commit myself to working with a nonprofit in the interim while I continue to pursue a career in PR.
The current work that I do is challenging and I expected nothing less going into it. So far, this has been a very meaningful and enlightening experience. Just as the students learn something from me every day, I feel I learn something from them too. Despite the circumstances they may be facing in their daily lives, these children, in my opinion, have a bright future ahead of them as long as the people, the infrastructure and the opportunities remain to help them succeed in life.
Aside from my AmeriCorps duties, I still maintain my involvement in Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) by becoming involved in the PRSA Philadelphia Chapter and its Nonprofit Resource Committee.
In late November, our chapter committee hosted a holiday happy hour event, bringing together PR professionals from the nonprofit sector as well as those from the public and private sectors. The event was a success and I had the opportunity to meet with some fantastic professionals, all of whom provided their own unique perspectives into the work they do and I learned a great deal from them as well. Our committee has more events in the works, which I’m looking forward to also being a part of as we go along.
I remain very optimistic about 2013. My AmeriCorps term ends in late July and my hope is that I’ll be able to jump back into PR by then. I still want to pursue a career doing PR work for the public sector like I did before AmeriCorps or to work with a firm that works with public sector clients. I can also see myself in nonprofit PR as well, combining my passion for supporting nonprofits with the desire to embark on community relations work.
Until then, there’s plenty of work that needs to be done. I’m fully committed to getting it done.