by Amy Pulliam, a member of the SkillCorps January 2016 team

During orientation in NYC, each team member had to pick three words we wanted to be on this trip that we felt we had difficulties with previously. “Sociable” was one of my words. I’m choosing this word to discuss because it’s the one with which I’ve struggled most in the past. I have always had a hard time initiating conversations in social settings. Since the majority of settings in life are in fact social, one can see how this was a big issue for me. I get socially anxious and usually avoid non mandatory social initiations at all costs. I’ve learned I’m much better at letting people come to me and engage me first. Social initiation is a very important skill of which I greatly want to improve. This amazing SkillCorps team has helped me in so many ways. They’ve held me accountable to my goal of being more sociable. They’ve put me in situations where I had to work on this skill while still helping me through the anxiety. I feel I am now more confident in unfamiliar social situations and the importance of that cannot be quantified. My team, the staff at Kaizora, and the amazing children have helped me become so much more self-aware. They’ve helped me grow in so many ways. Family is usually defined by blood relation or legal documents. To me, however, family can be used so much more openly and with so many less restrictions. Families are people who love you, care for you, help build your self-awareness, guide you through turmoils, and so much more. Families are people who don’t let you shy away from being all you can be, while still supporting you through your growth. They aide you into growing into who you truly are. All in all, family is there for you. That’s what I’ve gained here-a new family.