Why I Serve

December 12, 2013

Ty Jackson is a native of Birmingham, AL who studied Business at Mississippi Valley State University. For three years, Ty served with AmeriCorps as both a VISTA and State member to help develop communities, provide disaster-relief services and offer health screenings across Alabama. She is currently serving as an AmeriCorps member with the YWCA Central Alabama’s My Sister’s Closet boutique as the Volunteer Coordinator Assistant.

Since September 3rd, 2013, I have served as an AmeriCorps member with the YWCA Central Alabama as the Volunteer Coordinator Assistant with My Sister’s Closet. My Sister’s Closet is a clothing boutique that serves women in need by providing free and gently used clothing free of charge through a voucher system and simultaneously offers clothing at great prices to the public. Women come to our store from all walks of life: some who are experiencing homelessness, some who have escaped a domestic violence situation, and some who are professional women looking for great deals.

At My Sister’s Closet, we depend on volunteers to be able to serve our clients. The service our volunteers provide is a lot of hard work, time and effort. They help us sort, price and tag at least 200 articles of clothing a day. These volunteers come from all walks of life just like our clients. We have retired nurses and teachers who want to give back to their community. We have women who work downtown that want to serve their community on a lunch break or during their free time. We have college students who volunteer with their sororities or student organizations. We have women who need court ordered community service hours and reach out to My Sister’s Closet. No matter what walk of life our volunteers come from, they are one of the main reasons My Sister’s Closet operates, and they are needed and appreciated. They remind me of why I serve my community. 

One group of volunteers is a great reminder of why I became an AmeriCorps member, our fabulous volunteers that come from United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). The first day they came to serve my spirits were down. My grandmother was very ill, and I was not feeling very optimistic. Also, my glucose level was off balance (I am a chronic type 1 diabetic). So I found myself having a “pity trip.” But when the UCP volunteers walked into the store with big smiles on their faces, my spirits were automatically lifted. They helped us hang bins of clothing on racks, which requires a lot of physical work. I found myself asking the question, “All of these volunteers with cerebral palsy are so happy to be here—how can I complain about anything?” It is not difficult for me to hang clothing, but for one diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it can be a physical challenge. To watch the UCP volunteers hang clothing with such dignity and honor, despite their physical challenges, touched my heart. It made me thankful for the little things I had taken for granted in my life.  

Serving as an AmeriCorps member at the YWCA Central Alabama makes me proud to promote its mission and vision. The UCP volunteers make me a better person and help me understand the meaning of humanity. I am so proud to be a part of the many service opportunities at the YWCA Central Alabama where I get to see clients and volunteers from all walks life come together to make our community a better place.

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