Volunteer Spotlight: Jodi Apps
It's National Volunteer Week! This is a great time to honor and show appreciation to those who make a positive impact on their community through volunteerism. Jodi served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula from February 2015 to February 2016. AmeriCorps is a National and Community Service organization. VISTA members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. During her time at BGCVP she served as the Volunteer Coordinator and
created a strong program for our volunteers.
Q: Where are you from?
A: A small town in Wisconsin called Wild Rose.
Q: Do you have any siblings?
A: I have two younger brothers and an older sister.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I'm a “huge book worm." I love to read, and I also love gardening.
Q: Favorite color?
A: I don't have a particular favorite color. I just love colors. However, I'm definitely do not like black and white
Q: Favorite author?
A: Tamora Pierce, because she is committed to writing books that with both female and youth empowerment themes.
Q: Favorite book/series?
A: Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
Q: Where did you go to college? What did you study?
A: I graduated from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. I received my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in English.
Q: Why did you choose to major in that particular field?
A: In high school, I took an AP Environmental Science course during my senior year, which increased my interest in the field. Prior to the course, I grew up with my dad having a garden. That peaked my interest in wanting to know more about the environment.
Q: Were you involved in any school activities?
A: I was in a sorority, and served on both SGA and the activities programming board. I also worked for four years in the game room in the student center on campus.
Q: What led to your desire to join the Peace Corps?
A: During my junior year in college, I became interested in the development of third world countries. I wanted to gain a hands-on experience and I knew the Peace Corps would grant me with that opportunity.
Q: Where did you serve during your two-year commitment?
A: I served my time in Tanzania, East Africa, from October 2012 to November 2014. It took 17 hours to arrive and the time is 8 hours ahead of EST-Eastern Standard Time.
Q: What do you miss the most about being in Tanzania?
A: The culture. It was nice being able to embrace and explore a new culture. For example, Tanzanians care a lot about greetings and asking someone how they are doing. They dedicate between 5 to 10 minutes to greet someone prior to the actual conversation.
Q: Was there a particular dish that stood out to you?
A: Yes, "Chipsi Mayai," which is potato wedges and fried eggs mixed together. It's everyone's favorite meal in Tanzania.
Q: What three words would you use to describe your experience?
A: Adventurous, challenging and eye-opening.
Q: What was life after Peace Corps like?
A: Peace Corps left me with more questions than answers about the career path that I thought I wanted to pursue during that time in my life. After my experience, I learned that I was no longer interested in pursuing a career in anthropology or third world development. However, I did learn that most of the help and improvements needed in third world countries need to come from within and not from the outside.
Q: How did your experience in the Peace Corps impact your life? Did you see any self-growth from the experience? Did you learn anything new about yourself?
A: Serving in the Peace Corps left me with more questions than answers about my career path, because I went from reading about how to improve third world countries, to actually living in one and helping implement programs to help with the development. This was something that I learned about myself. I also learned to appreciate the small things and to appreciate people for people. The culture in Tanzania is more peaceful than the United States, and you definitely learn to embrace your “me” time.”
Q: Did you have to learn a foreign language?
A: Yes, I learned Swahili.
Q: How did you end up at BGCVP?
A: I knew that I wanted to be near my boyfriend and that I didn’t want to work for a private sector. I wanted to continue in national service, which is when I applied to be an AmeriCorps VISTA member. I discovered the position on the AmeriCorps website and noticed that the position focused on youth development and mentoring.
Q: What's one of your favorite things about BGCVP?
A: The people, including everyone in the office, those who work in the Clubs and the members. You can tell that you’re doing great service and working for a great organization.
Q: Where would you like to be in five years? What do you see yourself doing?
A: I would ideally like to be settled in a location that allows me to pursue a career in becoming the "
"modern day Ms. Frizzle." I also want to have a nice garden.
Q: Do you have a dream job? If so, what?
A: My ideal career involves environmental education and urban gardening with inner city youth.
Q: Do you have a quote that inspires you?
A: "Be true, be free, be open." I found this quote in the Peace Corps handbook and it stuck with me during my service in Tanzania.
Q: Lastly, is there anything that you would like future volunteers to know?
A: Yes. There's no greater feeling than serving as a volunteer with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula. Being able to see the smiles on our members faces and knowing that you're making a positive impact in your community is amazing.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer or mentor, visit our webpage to learn more!
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