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An AmeriLove Story

May 13, 2013

Margaret GarveyToday’s guest post comes from Margaret Garvey, Founder and Director of Arizona Serve. Currently, they’re recruiting for AmeriCorps VISTA positions starting this summer. You can find these opportunities at My AmeriCorps by searching ‘Serve Yavapai’ under program name.

I am not really a morning person. So, in July of 2006 when I boarded the airport shuttle in Prescott, Arizona at 5:30am to start the two hour ride to the airport on the way to Pre Service Orientation (PSO), I was not really in the mood to chat.

Being a city girl, newly transplanted to rural Arizona, public transportation felt like a familiar comfort. My plan was to pop in my headphones, curl up with my bag, and go back to sleep. This was the first of many plans I would make during my year of service that would not workout, and all the better for it.

Sitting in the very first seat, in the front of the bus, was a big haired smiling Tennessee gal who was so eager to meet me, she practically leaped at me. She was like a blast of caffeinated air fired at you from a leaf blower. How could anyone be this friendly at 5:30am, I pondered in my Bostonian brain?

Our travel experience together was…interesting. She had never been to a Starbucks, because she didn’t drink coffee, (excuse me, say that again?) refused to wait in line at the gate because, “I don’t sttayund in lionnes” (then how do you eat, bank, and use the restroom?), and was eager to strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone around.

I made all sorts of plans for my term of service: I would only be in Arizona for one year, I would save money, reduce my stress levels, I would learn to decipher and then accomplish everything on my Volunteer Assignment Description (VAD). I did none of these things.

I did some other things though. I made lifelong friends, struggled with and eventually accomplished some important work in service,  laughed a bunch, figured out how to make a budget and then actually stick to it, developed my leadership skills, learned about culture (mainly about my own culture), and I fell in love with that very happy southern woman.

Going on seven years later, we are both still living in Prescott, Arizona. I am directing a statewide VISTA program though Prescott College ( and Shona is doing foster care and adoption home studies with Arizona’s Children Association.

Our story is just one of many stories of folks who fell in love while in service. Over the last six years, working with teams of national service members I have seen many budding “AmeriLoves.” I think, what it really comes down to, is that the romantic love is just one form of the bigger love that we all share for service.

I have had the pleasure of watching members fall in love with service and in service and it just never gets old. We do great work, we have great fun, and we do it all (as cheesy as it sounds) in love.

To start your own AmeriLove story, apply to serve:

More specifically, (there comes the shameless plug!) Arizona Serve is hiring now for our 2013- 2014 team of AmeriCorps VISTA members (service begins in July for our Prescott, AZ team and in August for our Tucson, AZ team). Find out more about Arizona Serve at:

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ashley Johns permalink
    May 28, 2013 9:24 am

    Reblogged this on STL(VISTA) and commented:
    Guest blog from the director of my previous VISTA project!

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