Anya's Final AmeriCorps Reflections

You are here

Release Date: 
Friday, October 22, 2021

Read on to hear how serving at the Moran Center gave Anya confidence in her future career and deepened her understanding of how the criminal justice system impacts youth and their families.


While I have learned so much this past year in the world of Non-Profit Operations, Development, and Data Systems, I am specifically grateful for the knowledge I gained about the holistic legal-aid programs at Moran Center and how they positively impact the Evanston community. 


I find the Social Work Team’s efforts to advocate for Alternatives to Arrests incredibly inspiring. Often when faced with seemingly dangerous situations, citizens call 911, thus deploying the police. Subsequently, police are not adequately trained in de-escalation, nor do they have tools beyond arrest and prosecution. Many of these arrestees could need treatment for PTSD, substance abuse, addiction, and other mental illnesses. Thus black and brown youth end up in the system solely because they were not given the help and resources they need 


I have learned that so many of these situations could be better handled by Social Workers and Mental Health professionals. Kristen Kennard and the rest of the Social Work team advocate for Alternatives to Arrest and hope that by deploying Mental Health specialists, we can decriminalize and destigmatize mental health issues and help the community and dismantle systems of oppression.  


Similarly, the Education Advocacy team works tirelessly to advocate for students in the classroom. Whether it’s IEPS or school discipline meetings, these efforts lead to more low-income students graduating and fewer students of color dropping out of school. The school-to-prison pipeline is disparaging our nation and locking up young students of color who are not given the proper tools to succeed. Luca Guacci and Sarah Frudden continue to try and get these students the tools they need and support them along their education journey. By working with them on their data collection systems, I have learned valuable lessons about Evanston and our national education system.  


I have appreciated the opportunity to return to in-person work and hear success stories from Ina Silvergleid from the Criminal Remediation program, which works to expunge records and ensure that our community has opportunities post-conviction. Additionally, I have loved working with Megan McClung, not only seeing the impact of her housing and other civil legal work but helping her improve the pro-bono onboarding at the Moran Center.  


The Moran Center has taught me so much and forced me to reflect on myself and what I want to do in the future. I felt uneasy about continuing into social work and legal aid and wasn’t sure if it was the right path. However, through my time at the Moran Center and what I’ve learned from the lawyers, social workers, and other staff here, I feel reaffirmed that I want to go into public service work and social impact work. I am proud of myself for growing these connections and coming to this realization while also going through a global pandemic and navigating the post-grad transition. Thank you to the Moran Center for all their support and guidance throughout this time in my life! I am forever grateful.