The sun drenches the skyline in saturated warmth, and Louisville stirs to life, joyous in the midst of an Indian summer. 1.2 million people form a blended culture of southern charm and midwestern sensibility, earning us recognition in international compassion, the restaurant scene, and the arts.
Our members are scattered across this diverse, historic town – 400 square miles of bourbon and beauty. We are the home of a hero who taught us that service is the rent we pay for our place on this planet. The nation’s most famous racetrack jolts our city into a frenzy each spring, leading up to the fastest two minutes in sports. In those weeks, music performances jam along the river, food trucks satisfy our local cravings, and we create our own thunder.
Since 2007 ‘Where Louisville Meets the World’ has operated as a VISTA project, diving into the rich pool of community resources and surfacing with stronger, more sustainable programs. Our members span the spectrum of poverty-fighting efforts, supporting everything from ESL programs and cultural mentorships to food literacy and park development. They are formidable forces of altruism, each of them offering unique talents to their sites for an entire year while living in poverty themselves.
Today AmeriCorps swears in our one millionth member. We joyously celebrate this milestone with every member across the nation, current and former. National service is often an invisible task with intangible results; it demands grit, the ability to persevere against the behemoth mission of ending poverty. One million Americans have made the decision to serve, and I have the privilege of leading a tenacious crew of them. They help blind pre-schoolers learn braille; they hand kids fresh lavender for the first time; they create the space for cross-cultural friendship. Though their efforts are indirect, they are a vital piece of what makes our community resilient.
We are the grace and power of a Thoroughbred. We are the floating butterfly and stinging bee of a boxing champion. We are where Louisville meets the world. We are #1of1million.
Written by Alexis Faller, VISTA Leader