Eight Quotes that Perfectly Describe National Orientation

Prior to the service term, all 228 FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members gather in Portland, Oregon for a week of training and cohort-building. Here’s what they had to say about this year’s National Orientation that took place earlier this month. 

Orientation was an amazing and enlightening experience. I have never been around so many individuals with a common goal to enrich individuals with basic knowledge about fruits, vegetables and healthy practices. What an amazing week! — Nakasha Shoyinka, GA

“Last week was spent at the National Orientation for all members. There, I had the opportunity to get to meet and know my state cohort along with learning all about what our service entails. With hands-on lessons and a tremendous amount of resources, I left the orientation feeling prepared and excited to begin my year of service. I am so eager to begin working with the kids and get to know my school community.” — Christy Fierros, NC

“I was definitely feeling very anxious about serving before National Orientation, but all of the trainings really calmed down my nerves. I have never taught in a classroom before, but all of the hands-on learning lesson/trainings gave me a good base for entering classrooms.” — Allie Cook, ME

This week was National Orientation. I went into the week feeling very nervous and anxious, as a first year service member. However, I leave feeling empowered and ready to serve. I gained so many useful tools in Oregon, and would like to take the time in this reflection to thank all of the trainers and staff members for making me feel so welcome to FoodCorps and prepared for my year ahead. I would say just coming out of the week with a long list of resources is my success story. I look forward to September when I get to start teaching afterschool programs and integrate into my school.”— Sofia Ordonez, MA

“During the week of National Orientation, I enjoyed getting to know the rest of the Connecticut cohort. The training sessions were informative, and I wish I had similar training before I taught public school, especially the session on racism and a culturally diverse classroom.” — Aubrey Johnson, CT

There were so many amazing, small successes for the last week of national orientation. I had an amazing time learning and sharing with others. One of the best moments for me was meeting with the service members and staff that identify as Native/Indigenous and People of Color. This space that was held by Tiffany [McClain, FoodCorps’ Director of Equity and Inclusion] was refreshing and grounding. I made some great moments of connection with multiple service members, especially my state cohort. — Anita Lara, CA

“As a second year service member, it has been really awesome to have this time to reflect on the past year and build upon National Orientation to think about what I want my second year of service to look like. I’m really looking forward to school starting, because I feel like I’ll be able to dive right into teaching lessons, doing taste tests, and thinking about sustainability at my schools.” — Emma Rotner, CT

This week was so refreshing. Returning from orientation felt great as a returning member. I felt like all of what I learned last year can be actually put to work and make such a great impact. — Javonne Alonzo, NJ