• Joshua Harmening

AmeriCorps Volunteer Shares Why He Loves Tierra Village

An Americorps Volunteer named Ed smiles

Hello. My name is Ed Harris. I am an AmeriCorps volunteer for the 2019-2020 year here at Tierra village. My position is to offer support services to both the Coyote House Adult Family Home and TRAILS Day Program here at Tierra Village. My experience so far has been rewarding, challenging, and exciting. When I first began my service here, I learned from the first day to allow each person to embrace their independence.

By allowing our people the opportunity to be independent, I had to learn to back off and allow them the chance to do all they could for themselves while offering support whenever needed. From my past experiences, and love for this program, I wanted so much to jump right in and do things for them they could already do for themselves. By offering to do for them, I learned that I was taking away their independence.

Ed Harris, an AmeriCorps Volunteer for Tierra Village, puts his cowboy hat on a participants head in TRAILS Day Program.

It excites me when I see each person here at Trails, and Coyote House makes major strides and learn new things. Here at Trails Nicole, the director of the Trails Program, gives each person a chance to do what she calls; “Self-Directed Work”. This allows each person to work on something they want to learn to do or learn about. Whether it is reading, writing, learning about a particular subject, picking up a hobby, or learning something educational, each person is given the support they need. This support is offered either through me, Maddie, the other AmeriCorps volunteer, or the other staff at TRAILS or Coyote House.

Our support can be to sit with them and listen to them read, to help them by gathering writing sheets, or to search online about things that pique the interest of our participants. The reward I receive is the smiles and excitement I see on the faces as they unlock their own hidden potential. When they learn something new or pick up something they may have learned before.

The word that has helped me in my first three months has been "challenging". My challenge is to allow each person to be themselves. Each person I find has a uniqueness that compliments this amazing program. These people have amazing personalities that blend together, to make this program a success. As people come and see what our people can do, they will find themselves captivated by each person.

Coyote House is a unique place. Each of the residents here is quite independent. Support is offered through care partners, the activities coordinator, the house manager, and volunteers such as myself and others. I would challenge each reader of this Blog to come out, spend the day at TRAILS or visit the Coyote House, and see for yourselves what this place offers to the community itself. I have observed first hand how each person relates to the community. They are warm, loving, caring and friendly to all they meet. Whether it is at a store, in the park, on a hiking trail, or just seeing people, they love people. While being involved in activities with other programs they are well received and well-liked by all they come in contact with.

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