Bridget is a former AmeriCorp VISTA who worked in Community Resource Development. She is now a Dreamline Coach.
Where are you from?
I was born in Minnesota and raised throughout several states—not due to the military.
Who did you look up to and how does it inspire you?
My grandmother has always been my role model growing up, she embodies the true essence of kindness. Whether it be a handcrafted card or a warm hug, when I share I always do so altruistically—and that is because of her.
What was a VISTA Day like for you?
Typically, my day as a VISTA included securing resources for our Dreamline students and communities as well as helping the team at Conway with special projects. More specifically, I reached out to different community organizations for resources such as snacks, personal products, and information regarding access to food shelves, clothing closets, and shelters. Other than fulfilling the needs of community members, crafting Thank You cards to our partners and donors was my favorite part of the process; sharing gratitude is an intrinsic value that I’m a sucker for.
What inspired you to take on this work?
Personally, education has been the strongest force of family I’ve ever had. School was where I was comforted, inspired, challenged, encouraged, recognized, and even loved. These feelings were never constant; some schools employed agents of change while others merely bodies with biases, some had iPads while torn up and outdated books were the norm for others, some supported diverse populations with open arms while others created a segregated culture. Despite overcoming many academic challenges, it was never an easy feat since, on top of experiencing the horrors of mental illnesses, my family was constantly moving from state to state, city to city.
Somehow I managed to keep up and even exceed expectations, but not on my own. What kept me going were the sprinkles of sun, specific individuals of light, from an array of school districts across the Midwest, South, and East coast. What kept me going were the people that made exceptions to the rules just to make sure I had food to eat at school. What kept me going were the ones who put their scheduled meetings aside to ensure my mental wellbeing. What kept me going were those who told me to keep pushing, no matter what. They believed in me. Without them I would not be here today. Because of them, I recognize how undeniably powerful and necessary support systems are. Through them, I am inspired to be the change they have shown me and my loved ones.
Because of these experiences, I am determined to standardize equitable conditions in which all people can experience education in a safe, clean space, where they always feel inspired, challenged, encouraged, recognized, and loved.
What are you looking forward to in your new position as a Dreamline Coach?
What isn’t there to look forward to? Challenges don’t deter me nor do they hinder my excitement or anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing smiles and flashing my own pearly whites, witnessing students' growth, creating a safe space for my community, and using my strengths to cultivate developmental relationships.
Leaning in on my listening skills, I will be expressing care and ensuring youth feel understood without judgement. In a world where agency can be limited by Socioeconomic Status, I will rely on my collaborative abilities to share power by involving youth voices and encouraging shared leadership. It is one of my goals for youth to feel empowered and for them to trust me to advocate for them; I want to provide support in ways defined by the student.
Overall, I am looking forward to contributing to an incredible impact with our Dreamline team.