I have faced challenges and overcome them, achieved successes that boosted my self-esteem, met the most kind and generous of people and have grown very fond of all my fabulous co-workers. I have gained invaluable knowledge and found a peace within myself I never knew was there. The overwhelming support of everyone, the smiling faces and the most fantastic events have made living on a volunteer stipend worth it!
During my time at The Pride Center, I have learned a lot of things, but I wanted to share my top three, in no particular order. Here goes…
Number 1: You can never have too many friends. I thought I was all set with the small, but amazing, group of friends I had. About that. I was wrong. I met people who opened up to me, welcomed me with open arms and made my time at 332 Hudson unforgettable. And they are not just friends who say they’re friends (we all know people like this). They are actually friends; people who have shown that they want to help, shown they care and shown their support. Words can not thank them enough.
Number 2: I have learned (or rather, relearned), that a little bit does in fact go a long way. A smile, a kind gesture, calling someone by the correct Preferred Gender Pronouns, offering advice or leaving you alone; all of these things go a long way. All of these are also passed on from one person to the next. You don’t need to smother someone with attention. In fact, I’d prefer that you don’t. But a little bit of this and a little bit of that, can really turn someone’s day around.
Number 3: Failure is an option. Obviously, I don’t walk around hoping to fail and patting myself on the back if I do. That’s absurd. But I used to not accept failure as an option and either stressed myself out at the very thought of it or go to a dark (and scary) place if I did. But I’ve learned that failing at something only makes you want it more. Failing at something is another opportunity. Failing at something gives you a second chance. And who doesn’t love a second chance? I mean, really. I learned that if I succeeded at everything I did, all the time, and on the first time, I’d never know what it was like to want it. Really, really want it. This past year as a VISTA, I have failed at things I’ve tried, I have failed over and over again and I’ve felt what it feels like to be at the bottom and have to work my way back up. Did I enjoy it? I wouldn’t go that far. But I have a much better appreciation for what it feels like to be on top. When I succeed at something now, I feel a different sense of pride, especially if it took me a few tries to get it right. And I have to admit, it’s a superb feeling. Euphoric even.
In closing, I leave The Pride Center and the Americorps VISTA Program with a deeper understanding of a lot of things but most importantly, of myself. Thank you to everyone who helped me, supported me, encouraged me, brought me down (because haters gonna hate!) and taught me the lessons I’ll carry with me forever. Each and every one of you will have a special place in my heart.
This is Alison “Ali Fabulous” Horgan, signing off. Bye y’all!
Program Development Assistant
Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA
Pride Center of the Capital Region
332 Hudson Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
p: (518) 462-6138 x22
f: (518) 462-2101