Hello to all! My name is Christine Olding. I am going to be one of the bloggers for this year’s City Year Columbus blog. It is my goal to help people understand exactly what our mission is as a group and also, what my mission is as an individual. However, before I get into that I think it is only fair to allow you, as the reader, to learn a little bit about who I am, where I came from and why I decided to serve. I am a twenty-two year old recent graduate of the University of Dayton. I studied English and Philosophy during my four years at UD. During my time at UD, I was a writer for our school’s newspaper, Flyer News and also, a radio DJ for Flyer Radio: Rock Out With Your Udder Out! I hope to one day obtain my MFA and PhD in Creative Writing and hopefully, teach at the college level. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. I am the youngest of three children and come from a very loud and opinionated family, much like myself. I love music and reading and do both on a daily basis. Most of my friends and family would say that I like to argue (a point that, of course, I disagree with). I, also, have done stand-up comedy, acting and performing arts. Humor is a big part of my personality and I try to make everyone around me laugh on a daily basis. After all, laughter is the best medicine! To me, it is crucial that a person submerge themselves within other cultures and things outside of their comfort zones to become more familiar with how other people view and react to the world around them. With that said, I love to travel and to talk to EVERYONE I come in contact with because everyone has a story that deserves to be told.
Now that you know a little bit about me, I feel it is only fair to tell you guys a little bit of why I decided to join City Year Columbus. Education has always been a passion of mine, however, last summer is what really made me realize that something needed to be done on a more concrete level. From the age of eighteen I knew that I wanted to do a year of service, however, until last summer I was unsure exactly what I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to be a teacher at the Miami Valley Literacy Council for three months. During that time, I taught basic math and reading to basic adult native learners. Essentially, I was responsible for teaching adults how to read the alphabet, understand basic sentence structure and how to add and subtract. During that time period, I was amazed by how many adults had graduated high school and could not even read the alphabet or add single digit numbers. It was upon that realization that I knew I had to do something to change, what seemed to be, a never ending cycle of illiteracy. I had heard about City Year a few times before that summer, but upon the work I did at MVLC, I began to research it more heavily and exactly what the organization’s goals were. After doing some heavy research, I decided that City Year was the program for me! It had all of the components that I wanted out of a year of service, educational based with an emphasis on community and unity. I am very excited for this upcoming year and even more excited to show all of you the wonderful things that City Year will achieve during the 2011-2012 school year!