Lindsey's Top 5 Reasons to Join CTEP AmeriCorps
Lindsey Tucker (back middle), CTEP alum Hnou Vang (center), Neighborhood House staff member Sari Olson (right) and youth participant Dionne Eason (left).
Hey there! My name is Lindsey Tucker, and I am currently serving as a CTEP AmeriCorps member with the youth department at Neighborhood House. CTEP AmeriCorps members teach technology skills and promote digital equity all over the Twin Cities, from libraries and workforce centers to the Science Museum of Minnesota.
As a CTEP AmeriCorps member at Neighborhood House, I serve youth ages 12-18 by facilitating an IT Fundamentals class, leading social media workshops, and helping youth build resumes to apply for jobs. I came across the Community Technology Empowerment Project AmeriCorps program, a department of the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, as my senior year at St. Olaf College began to wind down and, wanting to stick around the Twin Cities area post-graduation, decided to apply.
The past nine months have been a whirlwind of learning all the ins and outs of digital literacy, building relationships with the youth at my site, and developing and facilitating programs both at Neighborhood House and with community partners.
Here are my top five favorite things about being a CTEP AmeriCorps member:
1. Incredible opportunities for professional development.
Every other week, we have a training day at one of the CTEP member sites. I have gotten to learn camera operating skills, tour the Capitol and learn about the lobbying process, practice new self-care techniques, and listen to speakers from all over the Twin Cities. Neighborhood House has also provided me with numerous training opportunities that are more applicable to my position and working with youth.
2. Becoming engaged in a new community.
I went to school about 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities, so I was fairly familiar with the Minneapolis-St. Paul area before I began. However, being a CTEP has given me exposure to many different pockets of the metro area that I previously didn’t even know existed. I love serving on the West Side of St. Paul, which is home to one of the largest Latinx populations in Minnesota. Being at a site for a full year gives you plenty of time to become familiar with the area and all of its hidden gems.
3. Taking a new career path for a test-drive.
Like many college seniors, I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing a career path and jumping into it right out of school. I was an English major, and didn’t entirely know what I wanted to do with it: Should I teach? Go into Public Relations? Try to break into publishing? With CTEP, I have gotten the chance to explore all sorts of different options and tailor the position to my own professional interests.
4. A welcoming cohort.
Moving to a new city is hard! Some of the other AmeriCorps programs employ hundreds of people, but CTEP has a much smaller cohort of about 35 members. This has made it easy to get to know everyone, plan and attend social events together, and forge new friendships.
5. The additional benefits.
Whenever I mention that I serve with AmeriCorps, one of the first things people ask is, “How can you afford that?” Living on a stipend can be a challenge at times, but if you utilize the many resources available, from food stamps to transit assistance, it becomes easier to manage. The Neighborhood House staff is constantly making sure I have everything I need, and are more than happy to point me in the direction of free food or offer me rides. As an AmeriCorps member, I have also been able to put my student loans in forbearance for the year and will get to pay off a sizeable chunk of them with my education award.
Sound like fun? Read more about CTEP and the general position description here.