Great Stories are written by Guiding Ohio Online AmeriCorps Members about their service.
In my short time as an AmeriCorps Service Member, I’ve had many great experiences helping the patrons of my area. I’ve been able to help people learn how to use a computer, send pictures to their family through email, keep in touch with friends on social media, and apply for jobs after losing hope when they discovered most applications are now online. With all of these rewarding experiences, it’s hard to pick just one for a great story. Many of my stories are helping individuals, so I thought I would describe the time I was able to help my community as a whole.
It was Columbus Day, 2015. I had a full day at the Mary Lou Johnson Hardin County District Library. The day slowly crept along as I helped my regulars and newcomers with their tech problems. As the 5 o’clock bell struck, I hurriedly gathered my belongings and dashed to the car. Not because it meant the end of my service for the day, but because I knew I had much more to do.
I made my way to the Forest-Jackson Public Library, which is normally closed for the holiday. I was tired, hungry and, admittedly, getting cranky about going to serve more hours after an already long day. The library was opening for a special group that evening. My assignment was simple: get all the computers and laptops set up and ready for internet use. After completing my task, I sat and waited for the people to arrive.
Soon everyone in the group arrived. There were 18 people or so in total. The leader of the group assigned each person to a computer, and began to tell me about the procedures that would be happening. The group was a section of our local volunteer EMTs who required testing online to pass their training. She started the exam for the others, and then pulled me aside to talk some more. She explained that the group had been trying to find a location where everyone could take the test at once, but had no success. The other businesses and schools in the area were either unwilling to let them use their computers, or wanted to charge them a large fee. Since everyone in the group was a volunteer, they were trying to keep cost at a minimum. She expressed to me how grateful she was that the library would not only let them use the computers for free, but also open their doors on a day when they would normally be closed. As each person completed the test, they stopped by just to say ‘thank you’ and express their appreciation for the library and the help I’d been able to give them.
Despite being a long day, the gratitude of all the volunteer EMTs made this experience one of the most rewarding I’ve had while serving for Guiding Ohio Online. It made me proud to be able to support the people of my community and help them achieve their goals.