Africa Bound-Farris Jackson's Peace Corps Journey Fund
Organized by: Brenda Dane
Americorps Year Inspired Farris to Apply to the Peace Corps
- FARRIS JACKSON JUST FINISHED A YEAR'S SERVICE IN AMERICORPS HELPING THE HOMELESS ON THE URBAN STREEETS OF ARLINGTON, VA, BUT... SHE ALSO DESPERATELY WANTED TO JOIN THE U.S. PEACE CORPS.
- AS SHE NEARED THE END OF HER 1 YEAR AMERICORPS SERVICE, FARRIS SPENT TIME RESEARCHING AND APPLYING FOR A COVETED PEACE CORPS SLOT THAT ALSO REQUIRED A 2 YEAR COMMMITMENT.
- HER HARD WORK PAID OFF AND SHE WAS HONORED WITH HER FIRST CHOICE TO HEAD TO AFRICA, SPECIFICALLY THE COUNTRY OF NAMIBIA.
- SHE WAS ELATED, AND FINALLY SUMMMONED THE COURAGE TO TELL HER PARENTS. THEY WERE/ARE SUPPORTIVE AFTER MANY QUESTIONS AND WISH THEY COULD BE MORE HELPFUL.
- AS FARRIS NEARS HER DEPLOYMENT DATE DURING THE SECOND WEEK OF APRIL, HER TIMELINE BASELINE KIT OF ESSENTIALS WHICH SHE MUST HAVE UPON DEPARTURE, IS SPARSE AND SHE REALLY NEEDS EXTRA HELP. I WISH I HAD THE RESOURCES SHE NEEDS, AS I WOULD FUND ALL OF IT. UNFORTUNATELY I DONT.
- ALL REQUIRED MEDICAL TESTS, SCREENINGS AND IMMUNIZATIONS ARE UNDERWAY, BUT SHE STILL NEEDS HELP WITH HER CRUCIAL BASE SUPPLIES REQUIRED AND A MINIMAL BASE FINANCE FUND TO ENSURE SHE CAN GET THERE AND RETURN IF AN EMERGENCY ARISES HERE AT HOME.
- MIGHT YOU FIND IT IN YOUR HEART TO GIVE EVEN JUST A FEW DOLLARS TO HELP HER REACH HER BASELINE FUND FOR TRAVEL AND HELP DEFRAY THE COSTS OF HER BASIC NEEDS FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS? (I will be sending care packages eventually)
- Most importantly, she needs to be able to arrive initially and return to the U.S. in the event something happens here at home. Base pay in the Peace Corps is $42 a month. Yes, that's right!
- She lived the entire last 12 month serving in AMERICORPS and working with the homeless and made less than $10.000 total. She went "shopping" at the local food bank, used public transportation and paid her own rent of $600 a month for a simple room with no creature comforts--in Arlington, VA
- The breadth of Farris Jackson's story follows, and you'll understand why this is such a remarkable journey and why I'm asking those I know, and even perfect strangers who might collectively help her even the least little bit, get to the next step.
- She deserves to grow in her experiences. As a child of the coal fields and unfortunate family health events that caused her to work very hard on behalf of her mom and dad. She's not even 25 years old and this should be her time for chasing her true self. I will help at home.
- She can't do this alone, and she has no one that is able to help financially at all. I am her "Aunt" in spirit, and not blood related but my dream is to see her fulfill hers.
- When Farris was very young, her mother suffered a debilitating brain aneurism and became forever disabled. Her father, once a thriving singer, suffered a stroke that affected his speech and ability to communicate verbally with ease. Unfortunately He too is also disabled and manages diabetes with all of its challenges. Farris has been a caregiver for a very long time.
- Amazingly and through all of the unknowns in her short life, she carries herself with a special sense of doing what's right and good, with an "inner spirit" of deep love for others and a "I can do this" attitude daily. She's selfless, sometimes to a fault which is why I am reaching out as I know she doesn't want to ask for what she needs because she's humble.
- Farris has taken care of both her father and mother...has been in and out of hospitals by their side, making critical decisions as their caregiver for several years, doing the household chores, grocery shopping, medication management, and remarkably graduating after taking one or two classes at a time over the course of several years from Marshall University and achieved a degree in Anthropology with a peer-reviewed publication under her belt.
- She was first in her family to be awarded a college degree. I'm so very proud of her as a young woman in this world. When I met her about 7 years ago, she wanted so badly to accomplish things that were meaningful and impactful. I encouraged her when she talked about joining AMERICORPS but she was desperately upset because she didn't know how her dad would fare if she followed her heart.
- Not only did she score an interview, but was offered a VISTA position at one of the largest homeless advocacy organizations in America. The only problem was, she had to figure out a way to take care of her family. A tough thing to do BUT, in true Farris fashion, she rallied like Margaret Mead, and coordinated a committed network of friends who stepped up to help which I fully supported.
- She goes out of her way to help others, and she stops what she's doing at a moments notice and shows up...when anyone asks, but more importantly...even when they don't ask.
- Farris Jackson is an amazing girl whom I became acquainted with years ago, as the niece of someone I was once close to. I have called her my niece and "family" ever since.
- In closing, I've added up the checklist and travel and the total comes to about $5550, which I've rounded up as a goal. Even if she doesn't meet this goal, I've asked my own childhood long time friends to help when they can too as well as strangers who may connect with her journey.