AmeriCorps VISTA Spotlight on Monica McMillan
Celebrating one year of service
Name: Monica McMillan
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
VISTA Site: United Way California Capital Region
When did your service start? February 2015
What are you currently working on at your organization? I am doing a lot of different things all revolving around Community/Volunteer Engagement.
Why did you decide to be an AmeriCorps VISTA in Sacramento? I tumbled headfirst into AmeriCorps. I started 2014 in FEMA Corps which is a part of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. I became addicted to National Service and California. I wanted to continue with my service, but I wanted to make a lasting impact on a community and an organization and I found that in Sacramento. I love that Sacramento is a growing changing city and I really love being a part of that process.
What have been some of the greatest triumphs during your year of a VISTA? I am so bad at talking about this type of stuff. I am really proud of…. I’m excited about finally having a active Student United Way Club at Sac State and one in the development process at UC Davis. That was a struggle and I’m happy to finally see some thing come of it. Day of Caring was AWESOME. I helped my supervisor coordinate an event that saw almost 1,000 volunteers serve in projects at 37 different locations in one weekend. That was a really incredible experience.
What have been some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome and/or learn from them? There have been a lot of challenges. VISTA is something that I hadn’t really experienced before. Having to sit in an office; day after day, hour after hour, was tough and it was difficult to stay on task just staring at a computer. I adapted to that by frequent walks outside in the beginning and several cups of coffee. Not having a good support system was also something that was difficult. Being so far from home without friends or a support system in the same time zone took a toll on my work initially, but I was really luck to find some really awesome people at my VISTA site. My supervisor Cole took me under his wing and my co-Vista Maihnia turned out to be a really good friend. This year has been one of growth and adjustment, but I think it’s been a beneficial one.
What is a 5 word statement to sum up your whole VISTA experience thus far? Ughhhhh this is so hard hey, that was 5 words! Challenging, exciting, experiential awesome ride.
What is your favorite thing about living in Sacramento? I love the community that I’ve found in Sacramento. Sac/Midtown is a thriving mess of culturally diverse young professional/families and fascinating stories. Also! I love being such a short distance from amazing ocean vistas like Big Sur, awesome cities like San Francisco, and big mountain adventures like Tahoe and the Sierras
Next Steps: What are you thinking about doing after your year as a VISTA? Hiking the Appalachian Trail, Park ranger, County Food bank Program Coordinator, Grad student. I’m not sure. It changes on the daily, but I’m slowly working towards a decision. I’m actually really passionate about disaster response/preparedness and so I’m looking for something in that field.
Congratulations to Monica for her one year of service!