By Debra Thomas
Michael Elton Carter came from New York to join the HFHMGC AmeriCorps staff in Feb 2009. He worked as an Assistant Construction Supervisor through August 2010. Here are some of his thoughts about his experience:
What do you remember as the best thing about work? The thrills of building a house and teaching people how to build a house, and making a difference in the lives of the homeowners.
About the Coast? The Southern way of life, the semi tropical plant-life, old fashion customs which are loved but are becoming outdated, the scenery, and the State landmarks.
In what way did the experience change you? The experience of seeing what life is like in areas outside your own home is always an eye opener and always broadens your perspective. But the discipline I obtained raised an awareness that regardless of what ever task one is attempting, the art of understanding different ways to do it keeps you aware of other possible pathways you may not have seen before, and makes it more likely you will find at least one correct one. And that is a viewing lens that helps you find treasures which stays with you forever.
Is there a story of something particularly meaningful to you? All of the home dedications were heart touching events. When the keys are handed over to the home owner you remember every nail you hammered, every friend whom you showed how to install something, every piece of advice you were given about how to construct the house, and all the work that went into it from all participants, and the laughs and tears (if any) that came with it along the way. During build-a-thon when the families gave their speeches, when they express how their lives have changed you know that all the work expended was worthwhile. These patterns repeat themselves in different flavors throughout the service term. AmeriCorps is a lifestyle that creates a region of contact of human compassion and cooperation which time and space cannot change.
Would you recommend serving with AC/Vista? If you like office work and mind puzzles, AC Vista is for you.
What about HFHMGC? Definitely!! The satisfaction that comes from this type of work is unlike any other.
Where are you now? Back in New York and have gone back to school. I am continuing my education in Biochemistry. The section I am currently in is something called Epidemiology, which is the study of the spread of disease, disease transmission, disease control and prevention.
Did HFHMGC &/or AC Vista help prepare you for your new job? Indeed it did. Again, the discipline I obtained raised an awareness that regardless of what ever task one is attempting, the art of understanding different ways to do it keeps you aware of other possible pathways you may not have seen before, and makes it more likely you will find at least one correct one. This way of thinking honestly is a science. Being that I am in the science field, it sharpened my perspective of looking at things in a scientific way.
Do you see yourself volunteering in the future? In any particular field? I will be volunteering with habitat for humanity whenever I can for the rest of my life. Also, if I see an opportunity to help someone else by volunteering to another cause, I will take advantage of that too.
Wow! Michael, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Now go hit those books! 🙂
P.S. Michael doesn’t know it but when we moved into our new building last June, the attached photo is one we picked to hang on our wall. 🙂