By Troy Mucchetti
The experience I have had this year being a member of the Alpine Achievers Initiative has been one of the most positive impacts on my life. There were several different facets that have affected me. First and foremost direct service during the school day is what comes to mind when I think of development. I have been working with kids for 7 years now and this past year has taught me so much on different methods of building bridges with kids, disciplining kids in a positive manner, and leading big group games that are outside of my comfort zone (just to name a few aspects). More importantly, each one of the kids I have been blessed to get to know over the course of the year has taught me so much about life and what to really be thankful for. All of the kids show up with positive attitudes and never fail to say something to make me smile from ear to ear regardless of whatever else is going on in their lives. They are all brilliant in their own special way and it is incredible to see them exemplify their specific expertise in their given fields. I cannot stress enough how much of an impact the children at this school have had on me when it comes to figuring out what is important in life, and how to deal with hardships that life will throw at you. The next facet of being an Americorps member is home life and interacting with the other members that are either living with you, serving with you or just hanging out with you on your weekends. I have been in Americorps before coming into this program so I had an idea of what to expect, but as the beauty of Americorps would have it, I realized I had even more growing up to do when it came to dealing with other members (your coworkers). I learned how to handle disagreements with roommates, how to deal with coworkers who may be stubborn or hard to get through to, and how to handle friendships when we go through rough times together in a stressful environment. I know I will go home after this year and be very confident in my ability to manage relations when I move onto to my next job after the completion of this program.
The last facet of Americorps is the inevitability that you will be thrown out of your comfort zone on multiple occasions and I cannot stress how important that is for personal growth. For me, being someone from the city and suburbs, even just living out here has put me outside my comfort zone and it
has helped me grow in the fact that I now have a true understanding of what it means to live rurally and before this experience I could only speculate what that was like. I’m nearing my last month in this program and I am still realizing that I am doing things outside my normal comfort zone even on a regular
day basis. Something I had been doing all year became apparent to me just yesterday that it was outside my comfort zone. Each time you realize you are doing something outside of your norm it should also be a realization that you are growing as a person as well.
Troy Mucchetti served at Mountain Valley School.