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“Building a ServiceWorks Program from Ground Up”

cpdc-serviceworks-team-katie-o-marra-bioBy: Katie O’Marra, CPDC ServiceWorks

Rolling out a totally new program is no small task.

This week I’ve been thinking about the other AmeriCorps members I met at Pre-Service Orientation who entered into roles that were already created for them and had been held by an AmeriCorps member before their year of service began. That kind of role comes with its own set of challenges, of course, but for the five of us here at CPDC it’s quite a different situation.

This year marks the first that ServiceWorks is at CPDC, so in many ways we are creating our program and our individual roles from scratch, as we go. That presents some difficulties, and in many ways we find ourselves attempting to create something without being able to visualize the end product.

When ServiceWorks ramps up this Wednesday, how many scholars will show up, how receptive will they be to our messaging and activities? How are we going to feed these people on this budget? There’s a lot of experimentation involved. In fact, I’d say it’s all experimentation at this point.

Without prior wisdom to build on, the preparation process can seem scary at times. But I believe that in itself is a positive. Some of the best advice I ever received was that the only things worth doing are the ones that scare you a little. Hopefully we can translate this anticipation and hard work into something that benefits our scholars in a meaningful way.

Katie O’Marra is a native New Yorker and recent graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, where she studied International Political Economy, Sociology, and Arabic. She brings to ServiceWorks a passion for building strong communities in service—a mission fortified during her years as an executive board member and team leader for Global Outreach service projects. These interests were further realized during Katie’s six month journey in Amman, Jordan where she worked with an NGO to bring sports camp to girls taking refuge in Jordan from their homelands of Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. Katie hopes to continue creating intentional and safe communities for young people of all backgrounds in her work as a ServiceWorks VISTA at CPDC.


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