Editor’s top note: Here is some recent research that connects the environmental issues with human well-being. Interesting and pertinent stuff.
When I was in my final semester of graduate school, I was fully planning on doing AmeriCorps. My mind was all over the place with research, writing and trying to graduate combined with a ton of personal issues and thoughts. I applied for an AmeriCorps VISTA job in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I knew I wanted to help underserved youth.
The former executive director of where I served told me to apply to their other AmeriCorps program as well. I did and had an interview set up with the program manager, Lindsay Kohler. I wrote it down wrong on my calendar. Totally spaced it and missed it. I sent an email begging for mercy. I figured I had not only blown my chances at that job but also the original one. Lindsay responded and said it was no problem and rescheduled another interview. Despite multiple offers, I knew what I was going to do. Work with people who knew forgiveness and understanding.
Three things Lindsay has taught me:
- Forgiveness and understanding. Obviously. But it went through the initial experience into multiple times this year when Lindsay moved from coworker to supervisor for me. Lindsay truly wants to help people and so she constantly looks past frustrations and difficulties to ideas of how to help. She is constantly looking for ways to putting others first. And this stems for her consistency in forgiveness and understanding.
- Passion towards helping underserved youth. This is what Lindsay does and continues to do. She has been serving underserved youth in multiple capacities since being at Partners in Routt County. She worked in a middle school. She did grants and fundraising and marketing. And now she runs the program that puts AmeriCorps in middle and elementary schools. But do you know what the bottom-line, guiding factor is in all of Lindsay’s decisions and actions? Helping the kiddos. Always. How she and her mentor crew can help in the best way.
- Running passion and dedication. I have consistently stated throughout my life I am more impressed with the people who run and train but never lead the pack than the people who do lead the pack. Lindsay is not a pack leader. But she is out there training through Steamboat winters anyway. Relentlessly. I watched Lindsay walk into the office day after day with snow and ice all over her after a mid-day run. And it was never about dreams of winning races. It was about the struggle. And the fulfillment of completing a challenging course. It was super inspiring.
There obviously is a ton more to Lindsay. But these are the three most prominent things I learned from her after two years of near daily contact. So, if anyone wants (or knows someone who wants) a fulfilling experience mentoring at-risk youth while being mentored by a passionate, dedicated supervisor (and friend), look into the AmeriCorps School-Based Mentoring program for Partners in Routt County in Steamboat Springs, Colo.