Volunteer Mississippi would like to spotlight Taylor Carley - an AmeriCorps member with the TRIAD (Training, Resources and Information for the Advancement of Disability) Service AmeriCorps program.
Where do you volunteer, what’s your cause, and what’s your favorite volunteer project?
I volunteer with TRIAD AmeriCorps at the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi. My cause is self-advocacy and transition to adulthood focusing on helping young people with disabilities become leaders in the community. My favorite volunteer project was creating skits with AmeriCorps members to educate and spread awareness and various community issues.
Why do you think it’s important for Mississippians to volunteer?
I think that everybody should have the opportunity to help their local communities by volunteering. Find what you are passionate about and start there. If the door won’t open, then open it for yourself and start making a difference. Being an advocate is about speaking up and taking action. Do not talk about it, do something about it because you never know what individual or community needs may be met.
What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?
I live in a small town outside of Hattiesburg. A small, vivid, and well-rounded community knows each other. The quirks I like about my town is that we might not have everything like other towns filled with opportunities but it has a lot of history that make it special.
How long have you been involved with TRIAD?
I’ve been involved with TRIAD AmeriCorps for 4 years and ongoing as a TRIAD AmeriCorps Liaison and volunteer. I speak out and mentor many of the TRIAD members and educate the community about the disability world.
What is one of your favorite things about being an AmeriCorps member?
My experiences come from learning about what I’m capable of. I got to work on my weaknesses and turning it into strengths. The friends I made as an AmeriCorps member helped me to push harder. (I had many opportunities by peers supporting and pushing me to reach my goals.) The activities and services that I did with the community shows that people with disabilities can do anything. “Disability is an Ability. I’m just like everybody else!
How has TRIAD helped you? How have you seen TRIAD help the lives of others?
TRIAD AmeriCorps helped me find my voice to speak out. The 4 years being in the program gave me find my independence I didn’t know I had. As a young adult, I have my own financial stability, I obtained my license to drive (I drive back and forth to work), I go out into the community and spend time with my friends when I have time off from work, and I volunteer my time. Just by reading my comment, I think everybody involved with TRIAD AmeriCorps gain a lot of experience learning social skills, critical thinking skills, decision-making, and teamwork. Every member of TRIAD AmeriCorps took something from their experience to make their lives and the lives of others better.