Hayley Uliana has been an AmeriCorps at Trinity for the last two years. Serving both with the Trinity Afterschool Program and the Bobcat Learning Center, her creativity, joyful spirit and dedication have made her a fantastic member of the team. We wish Hayley all the best as she prepares for where life takes her next.
The staff at Trinity is an eclectic bunch. It’s like being at a family reunion everyday, where your fun yet bizarre cousins, your crazy uncle, your overly inquisitive aunt, your wise godmother, and all the dads in the family that seem to have a pun for every occasion are all crammed into one house. Now, for some of you, this may sound like your worst nightmare causing post traumatic stress from imagining past family get togethers. And while every family has its flaws we, like a family, genuinely and deeply care for one another. It is that compassion and love that has made working at Trinity the most wonderful experience.
You never know what a day at Trinity will bring. One day you may be pranking Rod and working on lessons for TAP, laughing with everyone as you wait for him to come back and take a sip of his freshly salted water. The next day you could be running up and down the stairs going back and forth from the middle school while trying to figure out how your To Do list got to be so long. Other days may be more routine: chatting with Rachel, getting work done and joking about our hilarious, wonderful and infuriating kiddos with fellow AmeriCorps staff (Kyle, Laura and Daniel), hearing Cynthia talking to her computer, sometimes shouting, sometimes laughing, or listening to the faint bird chirping Julia plays as white noise in her office. Maybe you’ll get a special treat and be able to listen to Rod practicing for worship on Sunday or hear Pastor Matt going over his sermon through the surprisingly thin walls.
Heading out of Trinity House and over to the church, usually on Fridays to hang out with the middle schoolers and set up for TAP, you are greeted first thing by Ava and Maya always looking to play, adorable, energetic faces that I can never seem to say no to. Close behind them are Rosanne and Tracy, making sure their grandchildren don’t get into too much mischief as they work tirelessly setting up, running and breaking down the clothing bank. Even as they haul clothes, desks and toys back into storage they never fail to take the time to say Hi and exchange jokes about kids being kids. Rewind a day and in the very same spot you will find Ms Iris bustling away making food, cleaning up and prepping to open the Thursday night clothing bank saying, “God is good,” and “I can’t complain” when you ask how she’s doing. She has a unique gift of meeting people in love and truth just where they are at. I can honestly say that the rest of Trinity staff also has done that for me. I wanted to give this glimpse into how I have experienced life at Trinity because this is the place and these are the people that have made my two years working here so transforming, encouraging, challenging and uplifting.
There are also, of course, the kiddos. I could go on forever about how much I have learned and the passion I have for working with the students at Jason Lee and Bryant Montessori. I have been able to see leaders, scholars, athletes, musicians, comedians, artists, you name it just beginning to realize the unending potential that I am so anxious for them to fully discover. Working with the students in this community has truly shaped who I am and who I want to be, like making me realize my passion for working with middle schoolers. Who would have known?! If you had asked me two years ago what grades I would most want to teach, I would have told you anything BUT middle school. If they were anything like me in middle school, I was not going to be caught teaching that age group. Now, I’m hoping to pursue a Master’s in Teaching to do just that.
When it comes to the end of an era, in my case the end of my two years of AmeriCorps working at Trinity, it is hard to put into such concise words all the things I am thankful for, that I have learned, that have caused me to grow, and that have made me fall in love with the youth I have been able to serve and the Tacoma community. While it may be the end of one era, a new one is about to begin. I am all at once excited, terrified, lost and confident in the next steps I will be taking.
I’m not saying goodbye to Trinity, but if my future plans do take me somewhere else I will be taking with me all the things that the people at Trinity and the students at Jason Lee and Bryant have taught me.