Amanda Kirsch is a Second Year LVC Volunteer in Washington, DC. She has spent both of her years in Washington serving at Brainfood, a youth-development organization that uses cooking a food as tools to promote healthy living in a safe environment. Below, Amanda shares her reflections after almost two years of living in intentional community, journeying to an inclusive community, and serving at Brainfood.
Like many Volunteers, I came to LVC as a recent college graduate ready to discover. My college experience had challenged me to integrate my faith and learning and to seek ways to live and work accordingly. With a mission to build community, work for justice, and live simply and sustainably, LVC was an appealing next step of an ongoing journey.
Almost two years ago, I was placed with Brainfood, a youth development non-profit, in Washington, DC. The subsequent months provided invaluable opportunities and experiences that both challenged me and brought me great happiness. My first year in LVC came with an abundance of growth and continued discernment in identifying my personal values and beliefs.
While every Volunteer commits to a year of service, I decided to carry my LVC service into a second year; I had multiple motivations for making this commitment, and they all remain true. My experience in LVC continues to open my eyes in new ways to social justice work. More specifically, I have learned a great deal about both the successes and challenges of pursuing social justice in Washington, DC, our nation’s capitol. I feel invested in this community and desire to continue to learn more about the city’s particular issues and avenues for change.
Additionally, my experience with my placement organization, Brainfood, has provided me a distinctive vantage point to explore social justice through lenses of youth development, youth empowerment, food justice, and anti-racism—to name a few. My position has allowed me to utilize and develop personal and professional skills in a setting that both challenges me and brings me joy. I love sharing about Brainfood’s work and place in the community, the many engaged and talented youth who participate in our programs and will be our next generation of leaders, and the ways our organization dreams of growing in the future.
Finally, I am continually striving to explore LVC’s core tenets and participate in LVC’s Journey to an Inclusive Community (JIC). I am proud to be part of a community that recognizes the importance of actively forming and strengthening alliances among people of many cultures and communities—which includes intentionally dismantling racism and other forms of oppression within LVC, the church, and society. More importantly, this is a process that I will carry and continue to build upon going forward.
Transitioning into a second year of LVC came with its own challenges, like saying goodbye to treasured community members and friends; however, the relationships I have formed remain and sustain me. I continue to be blessed with new opportunities to build relationships, pursue social justice, and find my place in the world. I cherish these two years, and I am excited to see where the values and connections I have cultivated lead next.
This story originally written for the April 2016 Leader Letter.