A “Lightbulb” Moment

Jazmin Serrano Blog 1 working with children

I vividly remember the first time I first heard of FrancisCorps. I was sitting at my library one fall Thursday night back at Hope College, my Alma Mater when I decided to take a short break and browse my Instagram. Once there, I saw the “story” of my friend Elena Northuis, who was doing FrancisCorps the prior year. When I clicked on her story it led me to the FrancisCorps website and to blogs posted by the other FC22 members. I read through the blogs of the volunteers and as I read, I experienced what can only be described as a “lightbulb” moment for me. Before that moment, I had only seen two possible paths for myself post-undergrad, doing graduate school or securing a job related to social work and if I got really lucky, working in immigration, an area that I was very interested in. But at that moment, I felt God placing a third option in my path. My head began to picture myself doing service with a population that I was already interested in working with and living in an intentional Christian community. Truth be told, I began to get really excited, telling all of my housemates of this option and getting a lot of cheers back. 

There were several things that appealed to me about FrancisCorps.  The first, was that it was a smaller program, allowing the community to be central to the experience. Additionally, the site placements all seemed like great places to do service work. I was particularly drawn to refugee resettlement as I was doing a year-long internship working with unaccompanied youth from Latin America at the time and saw myself continuing to work in this field in my near future.  For me, FrancisCorps merged together my interest in working with vulnerable populations while also offering me an opportunity to grow spiritually and personally through my community and through my everyday interactions with my service site. After that night, I began to pray hard to God and asked several of my friends to pray for me for the next few months in order to discern whether I should do a service year with FrancisCorps. In the following weeks, I video called Elena to learn more about her day-to-day life in FC and to hear her honest opinions of this program. This conversation solidified my interest and in January of 2021 I applied. A few days later I got accepted and after discerning for another week, I knew in my heart with absolute certainty that FrancisCorps was where I wanted to be.

I think what excites me most about the FrancisCorps experience is the shared experiences that I will have with my fellow FC volunteers. We have had many fun adventures such as hiking through Labrador Hollow, visiting Alexandra Bay, and becoming more familiar with the local coffee shops in the Syracuse area. I cannot wait to see the Adirondack mountains and explore more places in the area. Yet, I also look forward to the everyday interactions with my housemates. One of the moments that I most look forward to is our shared meals during dinner time when we each have an opportunity to recount our day and hear the other volunteers share their days. Many times, we have a lot of laughs at the events of the day. However, I equally enjoy hearing the difficult moments of service, it is awesome to be able to share the difficult days with others and feel supported and also reciprocate the same. Ultimately, I am loving the aspect of the community of FrancisCorps and am just really excited for this year. 

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