AmeriCorps Week: Members Reflect on Service

Allana Pommier, Tre Gould, Johnnah Bailey, and Fatuma Hilowle

In honor of AmeriCorps Week, MENTOR Nebraska is celebrating our AmeriCorps members. To demonstrate the real life impact of the program, we asked Allana Pommier, Tre Gould, and Fatuma Hilowle to reflect on their experiences serving as AmeriCorps members.

What has been your biggest accomplishment while serving?

Allana: My biggest accomplishment while serving has been developing my people skills. While learning how to be a more authentic professional person, I am also learning how to navigate these professional spaces while being myself. Going out into the community for tabling or speaking during our host events has been a great asset to my professional tool kit.

Tre: My biggest accomplishment while serving must be speaking to 1,300 people at the National Mentoring Summit. I got to speak about my mentoring story and how important it is. I have never spoken in front of that many people, and I was amazed I did it. MENTOR Nebraska supported me the whole way, and I could not have done it without all of my team members, especially Fred.

Fatuma: My biggest accomplishment while serving was also speaking at the National Mentoring Summit. I was surprised that I could even do that without fear or last-minute doubts. I have given speeches in front of 100 to 200 hundred people before but speaking in front of 1,300 people was an accomplishment that I still cannot believe.

What do you appreciate most about being an AmeriCorps member?

Allana: I appreciate the emphasis on learning and growth that being an AmeriCorps member offers. The flexibility adds to the benefits of creating a well-meaning and impactful organization. Having yet to grow up with a formal mentor, I can learn and witness the true nature of mentoring while also enhancing the experience for others. Every experience in life is a chance for knowledge, and I'm getting an abundance of progressive insight from serving with MENTOR Nebraska.

Tre: What I appreciate most about being an AmeriCorps member is that I can be a leader in my community. Being an AmeriCorps member allows me to make a needed change in my community that will help generations to come.

Fatuma: What I appreciate most about being an AmeriCorps member is giving back to the community that gave me so much. Through programs like College Possible and MENTOR Nebraska, I have made many great connections and built relationships beyond the classroom or work environment.

What made you want to serve in the first place? What are you learning?

Allana: The value of learning and having access to knowledge is at the top of my list. Every experience I take on is a chance for knowledge and allows me to grow into a greater version of myself. Further, I'm learning how to be a more authentic professional at MENTOR Nebraska. Serving here, I can be exactly who I am among a team with similar mindsets while experiencing growth from an authentic place.

Tre: I chose to serve a second time because I fell in love with helping elevate the quality and quantity of mentoring across Nebraska. It was an outstanding balance between team projects and individual projects that I worked on. Another thing is that MENTOR Nebraska has a great atmosphere, and they made everyone feel welcome and like we had a voice on the first day.

Fatuma: I wanted to serve because mentoring has played an enormous role in my life. I would not be the student that I am, the employee that I am, or the woman that I am today had it not been for the incredible mentors that I had. I mentored for three years but soon learned that being a mentor was not enough for me. So, when I was told about the opportunity to help amplify mentorship by serving at MENTOR Nebraska, I was elated. Through my service, I have learned that there are a lot of behind-the-scenes parts of mentoring that I never knew about before. The MENTOR Nebraska staff and AmeriCorps members' hard work and dedication are unbelievable.

How has your supervisor's leadership and support helped you complete your duties?

Allana: Serving with Fred is phenomenal; he gives me the space to be who I want to be while pushing me to show off more and explore what can be done. It is not enough to get the duties done; it's also about being creative enough to produce something worthwhile that I can enjoy and, ultimately, the community can benefit from. Serving with Fred is knowing that the best can be done and there will always be more that can happen.

Tre: Fred has done an excellent job helping me when I have questions about tasks and projects. Fred is always a phone call away or a message. His communication skills are wonderful, and he never leaves me having questions or worries. I always get feedback from him on what I could have done better, what I did well, and how to move forward.

Fatuma: Serving with Teresa has motivated me to understand that I made the right decision by switching to public relations and advertising. In my first four years of college, I concentrated on journalism writing for news reporting, but I changed it to public relations and advertising at the end of my fourth year. I was so nervous about starting something so new at such a late stage in my college career but serving under Teresa helped me not only get the confidence to stick to my public relations and advertising degree but also helped me gain the necessary hands-on experience of what it would be like in the field. Because we share a similar story, I can rely on Teresa to understand me and guide me toward becoming the best public relations specialist I can become. I have used her knowledge and experiences as a guide to fulfilling my duties at MENTOR Nebraska. No matter my concern or silly question, I know that Teresa is always there with a warm smile and an answer.

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