In the last post I highlighted the team members of the River 7 AmeriCorps NCCC Team, hosted by the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa for eight weeks this spring. I have posted before on the role of AmeriCorps NCCC Teams as a means for community outreach in museum contexts.
For this week’s post I highlight Ana Rea, the Team Leader for River 7. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Ana during the Team’s round here in Memphis. She exemplifies the best of the millennial generation’s commitment to service and living into the solutions. Ana will be leading the River 7 NCCC Team next in Gainesville Florida and then in West Virginia at the Boy Scout Jamboree. If you are in those areas, track down Ana and her team members to see an excellent example of community service in action.
by Ana Rea
My name is Ana Rea and I was raised and had lived in Greenville, TX since the age of 9 and had never left my small town until I joined AmeriCorps NCCC. After attending Texas A&M-Commerce for one year I decided to take a break and really discover what it was that I wanted to do with my future. I began working at a local dance studio where I became heavily involved in community engagement and community service. Part of my duty as the office administrator was to find opportunities for our dance competition group to be involved with serving others. Annually, Academy of Dance, Music, and Theatre, the studio I worked for, hosted a benefit dance gala that donated all proceeds to the local non-profit organization C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates). C.A.S.A. is an organization that provides advocates for abused and neglected children so that they may thrive in a safe and loving home. I found myself looking forward to this event every year as I was in charge of planning and supervising every aspect of the event. Knowing that I was putting together an event that would help children live in a safe environment was my inspiration to making the event a success every year. That’s when I began to discover what my passion was; helping those less fortunate and community service. After a few years of working at the studio and having some experience in planning benefit events, my family and I decided to create our own fundraiser. We involved the community in celebrating International Day of Peace with various activities like a “Soccer for Peace” tournament, fun activities for the kids, music, food, and a raffle with donated items from local businesses and the renowned Major League Soccer team FC Dallas. The event was a success and we were able to raise a monetary donation for C.A.S.A. to promote peace in children’s homes. Again, an event like the one my family and I put together really solidified what I was meant to do. I began the search for volunteer programs that could give me a better understanding of what I aspire to in a career. That’s when I found AmeriCorps NCCC. This program was very appealing not only in the sense of being able to serve others but in the fact that it is a domestic program that helps communities all over the United States. I was born and raised in Mexico City until the age of 9 when my family decided to move to the U.S. I wanted to begin my journey of “paying it forward” in the country that I now call home, the country that has given me so many opportunities for success and the country that has made me the person who I am today.
It would only be fair that I served my home first. I am currently serving in my second year of AmeriCorps NCCC Southern Region as a team leader for River 7 and so far, I have been privileged enough to serve in the states of Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Some of the projects that I have been part of include disaster response for Hurricane Isaac, the Hattiesburg tornado, energy conservation work with Greenlight New Orleans, environmental stewardship projects in mountain top removal sites in the Appalachian mountains, rebuilding homes after Hurricane Katrina and currently working with the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, the Westwood Neighborhood Association and T.O. Fuller State Park in Memphis, Tennessee. I plan on continuing the path of service to others with an open mind and learning something new every day.
Ana can be contacted at river.team.seven(at)gmail.com