Submitted by dsong on

"’How can I help?’ This question shaped my life since childhood. It’s something I ask myself several times a day, and it’s also how I joined AmeriCorps.

I grew up as one of five children in Buckhannon, W. VA. My parents divorced, and my mom mostly worked under-the-table jobs, living on very little. Growing up in poverty made me empathetic and more willing to help those in need. When my ex-mother-in-law showed up at my house one day with a proposition for me to join AmeriCorps, I knew I had to pursue it. What I didn’t know was how much it would change my life. I interviewed with LifeBridge AmeriCorps and was selected to serve; the rest is history, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I am currently in my fourth year as a Financial Literacy Coordinator at United Way. The mission of this program is to provide financial independence for all families as a stepping stone away from poverty. I spend time preparing tax returns and doing intakes for those in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. I also lead workshops and classes on financial literacy including budgeting, saving, and couponing, and give information and referrals to individuals in need.

As I complete my fourth year of service, I know AmeriCorps has guided me to where I am today. In December 2021, I graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology, making me a first-generation college graduate! I also recently purchased my first home which just so happens to be right across the street from my twin sister.

Wherever the future takes me, I know AmeriCorps has changed my life forever. I plan to continue to serve my community and urge everyone to ask: ‘How can I help?’”