Wednesday, November 20, 2013

50 Years, 50 Stories - Erica Buller

Today’s installment of “50 Years, 50 Stories” comes from Erica Buller, who is a volunteer for Imagine!’s Out & About program. Erica is volunteering through the Mennonite Voluntary Service, which has supplied Out & About with several volunteers over the years. Thanks for sharing, Erica!

Finding Out About Out & About
By Erica Buller

I graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, in May of 2012. Bethel is a very small (500 students), private liberal arts college affiliated with the Mennonite church. I majored in art with emphases in ceramics and metalwork/jewelry.

I ended up at Out & About through the Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) program. MVS connects young adults with full-time volunteer opportunities across the U.S. There's no expectation that young adults in the Mennonite church devote a year to service after college; all the volunteers in the program have chosen to take a year or more out of their lives to work as volunteers. The MVS program asks its volunteers to live simply and in community with other volunteers, and provides a support network through local churches. When I applied to the MVS program, I said I was extremely interested in working with people with developmental disabilities, and the MVS staff immediately suggested Boulder and Out & About. One of my friends had worked with Out & About during her MVS term and couldn't say enough great things about the program. After hearing her talk about her experiences with Out & About, I was confident that Boulder was where I needed to end up.

My favorite part of Out & About so far is the variety, both in whom I work with and what we do. I have really enjoyed getting to know the participants, and I feel like working for Out & About has been a really great way for me to get to know Boulder and the surrounding towns. I've loved having the opportunity to work both in the children’s and adult programs, and I feel like I learn a lot with each shift that I work.

I hope to attend graduate school for Occupational Therapy. I would love to end up at the University of Kansas's Occupational Therapy program in Kansas City, Kansas, where I grew up. I know that, as an occupational therapist, I would like to work with people with developmental disabilities. I would love it if I could end up working in Colorado again – it will be hard to move back to Kansas again after living in Boulder.

Are you interested in sharing your story for “50 Years, 50 Stories?” If so, contact Caroline Siegfried at or 303-926-6405. We’d love to hear from you!

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