My name is Iffat, and I have the extreme pleasure of working with the AmeriCorps NCLC (North Carolina Literacy Corps) team, through my Community Service career. Over all, I can say it’s been inspiring. I am also a mom to an amazing 6-year-old little girl who often makes me wonder why I deserve to have her in my life. She is a package of happiness.

Serving as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator gives me an opportunity to experience how motherhood makes me a better employee and a better person. I have had the chance to develop community relations with moms enrolled in parenting training programs. While the mothers were in training, we provided activities to engage their children and help them to develop their reading and character building skills. Each week we would have an organized routine starting with dinner before venturing out to the park and finishing up with a classroom activity. Personally, I noticed that my motherly instincts were always there to help me. I cared about whether the kids and their clothes were appropriate for the weather outside and if they had water bottles and snacks available. I felt pride in knowing that each night all of the kids went back to their homes safe and happy.

On many occasions, I felt that being mom helped me to be cautious and mindful of others’ safety, especially kids. During the “Prevent Child Abuse” event at the FFRC, one of the assigned volunteers in the gaming section had set up cornhole platforms right in the middle of the walking area. It was likely that a kid or even an adult could get hurt due to platforms being in the way. I felt the possible danger and let the volunteer know. She appreciated my concern toward the safety of the people and moved the boards.

Initially, I began working for AmeriCorps as a way to transition back into the office and get experience before finishing my degree in communications. But once I settled into a routine, my perspective changed. During the National Literacy Action Week, it allowed me the opportunity to reflect on the topic, “School to Prison Pipeline.” Being a mom has helped me to communicate with middle and high school kids very easily and effectively. I incorporated simple but practical examples and talked with them about why it is important for them to finish school and use education as a way to get a better life.

My experience at AmeriCorps is different because I had the opportunity to learn about many important topics through webinars. I also gained practical experience for recruiting, training and placing volunteers, managing events, developing and implementing literacy plans and directly working in the non-profit sector. I had the opportunity to get my Non-Profit Management certificate which is a great initiative by the Scale team. While working with AmeriCorps, I have had experiences that helped me gain insight on which direction I’d like to steer my career path.  

My role at FFRC and my knowledge has helped me to understand more about how a non-profit functions. I have realized that programs and development at AmeriCorps are interconnected and after gaining this experience, I have developed a real interest in non-profit development. After my service, I hope to find a job in the non-profit sector and intend to work toward fundraising, social media and grant writing.

I would definitely recommend serving with AmeriCorps to everybody and especially moms who want to contribute to the community or their families. I would say do not be afraid because being a mom can actually make you better at doing the job. I grew during my time at AmeriCorps. It helped me to gain the strength and courage needed to be part of a mainstream career. I am totally prepared and ready to start my career as a full-time employee and a mom.

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