What attracted you to GSV?
In the beginning, the mission and focus of GSV is what attracted me to the program. It was exactly what I was looking for. After my first interview, I felt an unspeakable connection with GSV. My interview felt more like a conversation where I could be completely open and honest about who I was and what I was hoping to get from my experience. I felt extremely comfortable and in my element. I remember hanging up the phone and thinking, “yea, this is it.” It just felt right.
Where are you serving / what kind of work are you doing?
I am currently serving at Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd Teenage Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PKGSTC is a residential center for girls between the ages of 13-17 (or who are in secondary school). My work consists of anything from supervising/monitoring the girls on a day to day basis to creating and implementing different activities for the girls to participate in. We also educate the girls on different social justice issues that are happening around the world and in their own backyard. Our goal is to help our residents to become accountable, responsible, aware young ladies and prepare them for life as a young adult.
How have you seen personal growth thus far as a result of your experience in your GSV community and at your site placement?
I definitely feel that when I look back on this experience, I will be able to answer this question with a bit more clarity. It is hard to fully articulate what is happening internally. I can say that I have been challenged in ways that I never knew possible. I’ve done things that I never knew I was capable of, and that alone is amazing to me. In community, I have experienced growth in the ways that I allow myself to be vulnerable and uncomfortable. I think that holding each other accountable and really committing to the experience for all that it is helps to stretch beyond the limits I’ve set for myself, and into a space that welcomes the good, bad, and the ugly.
What is the best or most surprising part about your volunteer year so far?
Everyday is a surprise! You really just never know what you’re going to get. The best parts so far have been the little things that bring me joy. Like a smile on one of the girl’s faces when they feel genuine love, or watching monkeys play up in the trees, or the feeling I get when I understand a new Malay word or phrase! There are little small surprises wrapped up in each and every day.
Any advice for someone considering doing a year of service?
My advice for anyone considering a year of service is to keep it real. I mean really, Keep. It. Real. Especially with yourself, in terms of the application process. Try to stay honest and true to yourself.
Don't be afraid to challenge yourself in ways you never have before. Welcome the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that invade your being. Greet them, befriend them, and watch how they have the power to transform you.