Q: Why did you decide to make the commitment to become a fellow?
I have always wanted to make a difference in the world through my work. As an attorney, I felt like I could make changes in people's lives on an individual basis. However, I wanted to explore how large-scale change can occur through political avenues. I decided to commit to being a fall fellow to learn about community organizing and effecting change from a community to national level.
Q: What do you think the benefit was of being a fellow instead of just a volunteer?
As a fall fellow you not only get a special title, but also added responsibility. That responsibility helps hold you more accountable to reaching goals and urges you to set higher goals. Further, it allowed me the opportunity to work more closely with my regional field director on some projects. This allowed me to better understand the inner workings of the campaign.
Q: What was your most rewarding experience working as a fellow?
I really liked getting to know other volunteers. I have been truly inspired by their life stories, their kindness and their commitment. It is exciting to see people from all walks of life working together for a common cause.
Q: How have you grown as an organizer since joining the fellow program?
I did not know anything about community organizing when I began as a fall fellow. Although I had managed people and been involved with many volunteer activities, I did not understand the context of organizing a small group to be part of a national plan. Learning about the strategies of community organizing and the timeline of the campaign was educational for me.
Q: If you had to describe the program to a friend, how would you describe it?
Fellows receive training on community organizing and are given the opportunity to put that training into action by helping build strong community grassroots networks while organizing and attending phone banks, voter registration drives, one-on-one meetings, house meetings and trainings.
Q: The Fellow program can be a very trying experience at times. What did you learn most about yourself and the campaign process?
I learned that good motivational skills and good leadership skills go hand-in-hand. I would like to become more adept at motivating people. Most of the volunteers I worked with were self-motivated. A strong leader is good at creating motivation.
Q: What do you feel are the unique political challenges and possibilities facing youth in 2012?
The suffering economy has especially effected our youth. Our youth need to recognize that they can be a part of the solution. They need to be innovative and become politically engaged to lead innovations in the economy.
Q: Why is it critical for youth to get engaged in 2012?
Youth are the future. They have one of the greatest stakes in the fate of our country, because they will inherit it soon.
Interested in becoming a spring fellow for OFA-Missouri? Apply here.