Audia Harris, who is currently serving as an AmeriCorps member with Dan River Year AmeriCorps at the Institute of Advance Learning and Research in the Danville area has been named the February 2018 Virginia AmeriCorps Brand Ambassador. Audia who was born in Danville, is 32 years old and currently serving a third term as an AmeriCorps member. "I live in a rural area, 'Where everybody knows everybody,' she says. Audia has two daughters, ages 8 and 13, and a very spoiled teacup chihuahua named "Prince." Audia reflects on her AmeriCorps experiences:
"Growing up, I have always had a love for people. I enjoy helping others in any way possible. My first job was at a local daycare center in the community where I worked after school each day. I realized that working with children was not only entertaining, but it became my passion. After graduating from high school, I began to pursue an education in Early Childhood Development. As college coursework seemed overwhelming, I disappointed my parents with the "I am dropping out speech." Although I have always been employed, my mind and my heart always led me to work with children.
Based on my experience, I was hired at a child development center as a teachers' aide. Teaching preschool-age students was rewarding. After working there for eight years, I was devastated after my supervisor passed away from cancer. I knew that I wanted to make her proud of me, as she always had very high expectations. I continued to find employment, and received an associate's degree in Medical Records. Although I was making progress, I still had the desire to earn a career, while doing what I love to do!
I eventually found AmeriCorps serving for the Dan River Region. I am currently serving at the STEM Academy, located in Chatham. Each day brings new challenges, as I am able to tutor, mentor, and engage in STEM related activities. I interact with children grades 5-9, and young men and women ages 12-18. Being an AmeriCorps member has afforded me the opportunity to return to college where I am earning a bachelor's degree in Human Services and setting new goals.
This journey has been a great experience. I enjoy serving in the community, and at my local site. I work with great people and educators, and they encourage me to continue to have a positive impact on the lives that I touch each day. I am proud to be an AmeriCorps member!