shannonAs we approach the 4th Annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service, our VISTA Leader Shannon Macika was coincidentally interviewed for the SERVE Philadelphia VISTAs blog to reflect on her experience as a second year national service member. Prior to arriving at Philly Fellows, Shannon served from June 2014- June 2015 as the Child Hunger Outreach Coordinator for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. In that role, she was a member of both the SERVE Philadelphia VISTA Corps and the national Anti-Hunger & Opportunity Corps.

Here are a few of the thoughts she shared on her experiences as an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader:

When did you decide to do another year of national service?

… One of the best pieces of advice I’ve always followed from my dad is “Never do something

[only] because you think you should,” so while I felt like I should only be focusing on more permanent positions to give my life more consistency, I was feeling the pull of a desire to continue to pay it forward from my service year… the VISTA Leader role has [also] allowed me to develop and enhance my skill set even further by working on projects and activities that I wasn’t involved with during my first VISTA year (things like recruitment, mentorship, event planning and facilitation).

If you are still in Philadelphia, why is it important to you to continue serving the city?
… I originally intended to go straight back to New Orleans [hometown] after college to serve as a public health professional, but I learned that New Orleans and Philadelphia are similar in that they are both full of passionate people who want to do good but also face many problems bigger than us all, things like poverty, access to adequate housing, and [access to] quality public education. Although I’ll probably always call New Orleans home (it will be hard to stop me from saying “y’all”!), Philadelphia has become a second home that I am committed to supporting as we work as a city to provide a more equitable quality of life for all Philadelphians…

Read Shannon’s full interview on the SERVE Philadelphia VISTAs blog. Anyone interested in learning more about national service programs and experiences in the City of Philadelphia is also encouraged to attend the Philadelphia awards ceremony for the 4th Annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service next Tuesday, April 5th, at 4pm at City Hall.