Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A New Direction

Trey Smith

Now that we've decided that Della needs a different profession AND that we need to give up on home ownership, we need to look toward a new direction. The strategy that we've come up with involves AmeriCorps.

I don't expect that any of our current readers were with this blog when it began back in 2005. If I'm wrong and a few of you have hung around this long, then you might be shocked to see me suggest that AmeriCorps figures in our current calculations! Back in 2005, I was accepted into this national program and then unceremoniously dumped before I even started due to some rather interesting reasons. (You can read about them here.)

What my past experience basically came down to was that I seemed like the perfect candidate on the telephone (the way many VISTA interviews are conducted), but my potential site supervisor did an abrupt about-face once he met the very strange me!! At the time, I was outraged, but in retrospect, he probably made the right call. There is almost NO chance I would have fit into his conservative agency in that decidedly conservative town. Besides that, I am a very peculiar person with very peculiar ways.

But just because AmeriCorps didn't work out for me, that doesn't mean it can't work out for Della. She's a lot less strange than I am and she's FAR, FAR more social. She mixes well with others and most people tend to think highly of her (though they do wonder why she's married to that tall strange fellow).

Unlike over-educated me, Della does not possess any college degrees. At almost 48 years old, she's not inclined to tromp off to earn a BA or anything like that. She would like to return to preschool education -- she worked for 7 years in the Head Start Program in Salem, Oregon -- or some other paraprofessional job in an education setting.

But it's hard to get back into the field with no recent experience. She last worked in the Head Start Program in 2005 and so her experience is becoming outdated. That's where AmeriCorps comes in. Next fall there will be a plethora of opportunities to join the Washington Reading Corps. Individuals are assigned to schools all over the state to tutor students who are having academic difficulties. In exchange for a volunteer's service, a monthly stipend of around $1,000 is paid.

If Della can snag one of these opportunities and we can find living quarters in Senior and/or Disabled Public Housing -- we're eligible because of my disability -- then Della could gain valuable experience that could lead to a job later AND our housing expenses would be much reduced. We would still be dirt poor, but what else is new? We're rather used to going without.

Della is very excited about this possibility. In almost every town we've lived in, she has volunteered with one or more area nonprofits. She is a very service-oriented and nurturing person -- two of the reasons why I married her!!

So, this is the new course we've decided on. That doesn't mean that is the direction ultimately we will go, but that is what we are setting our sights on.


  1. Sorry to hear about this stress you're both going through, but it's great to hear that you're coming up with exciting possibilities for the future.

    This sort of thing has happened a couple of times to us. It's really not been fun to deal with at the time, but things have always panned out. We're still here!

    I wish you both all the best with your plans :)

  2. Wow, sounds like a lot of changes are in your future. I hope Americorps and the move work out well for you two!


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