I’m Katie Grills, and I’m having a very happy Monday because today is my first day on duty as the new Community Relations VISTA for Theatre Action Project. Being a VISTA here is a culmination of a number of dreams and passions that I had, and I have a lot to be thankful for…because being here almost did not happen! I spent nearly a month and a half this summer applying with little zeal to other jobs that felt all wrong after spending a year as an AmeriCorps*State member—you name the position, I applied for it. After a few unsatisfying weeks of this search, I found myself turning back to the AmeriCorps world. As I scoured the AmeriCorps VISTA posting and found TAP’s job description, I knew that this would be the perfect position for me. My friends saw the spark in my eyes as I read about organizing volunteers and working towards the program’s mission, and they knew it would be perfect for me.
Before I moved to Austin, I was serving as a Bonner Scholar at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. I sought to incorporate my passion for the arts into my weekly service life. This manifested itself in a number of ways. I helped lead arts classes at More than Art, a program that helped those experiencing homelessness develop artistic skills, self-confidence, and equal community with others. I led service reflection groups that discussed the impact of public art pieces in Midtown Memphis. When I moved to Austin I found myself lacking these outlets, and I knew something was out-of-place. I have, however, found TAP, and find comfort in knowing that I will be reconnected to the mission of changing the lives of others for the better through the arts, even if I am not directly serving students.
Today I have a lot to be thankful for. I have the chance to serve my country another year. I have the chance to work directly with amazing people who share one of my deeply held passions. I have 364 more days to connect with new volunteers and other community partners, and to truly grow into the responsibilities and challenges of being a Community Relations VISTA. I get the chance to grow closer to Austin and all of its wonders, the greatest being its people.
Sure, this Monday might have been a touch manic, but I couldn’t be happier. If you’d like to make your Mondays (or just about any other day of the week) better by becoming a TAP volunteer, check out our website, fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you on how to get involved with us here at Theatre Action Project.