Name: Rachel Clark
How long have you been in Greenville? 15 months
Most interesting fact about you: I have been heavily involved in wildlife education, so I've gotten to work with all sorts of birds of prey! Nothing teaches you a healthy fear and appreciation of nature faster than holding an owl that has the power to crush your arm if it wanted to.
Your background: I grew up in Alabama and went to college in Birmingham. I was always interested in nonprofits, the outdoors, and education; I was always happiest when I could combine those elements.
In college, I was involved with everything I could get my hands on, from leading school-wide service days, to doing research for historical parks, to coordinating volunteer opportunities in local elementary schools, to leading educational programs for wildlife centers. After college, I continued this work by moving to Greenville for a year of service through AmeriCorps.
Through this program, I was able to invest in the community through health screenings, financial programs, and community education. I also began doing outreach for mental health programs. After my service year, I stayed in Greenville to start working full-time at the nonprofit I had served with for my AmeriCorps year.
Currently reading or watching: I am currently doing my annual reading of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Hobby: I love the walking trails in the area, and intend to explore every last one of them
Tagline / Motto: "Change the world, grow yourself, take a hike." I think that we as humans have a responsibility to avoid stagnation. Everyone has a way that they can contribute to making the world a better place, and I believe we should find that purpose and run after it. Plus, life is much better if you choose to look at each challenge as an opportunity for personal development.
Who do you work for?
I am the South Carolina State Director for Impact America. Impact America is a nonprofit that engages recent college graduates to serve their communities.
What is your day-to-day on the job? My job has something new every day, but the core components are always the same.
The two programs we run in Greenville are a free, high tech vision screening program for preschool students, and free, IRS certified income tax preparation for families and individuals.
For our vision program, I might be helping to create a screening schedule, training screeners, networking and meeting with daycare directors, reviewing reports, or following up with parents. I love this program because we screen over 15,000 young children in South Carolina each year, and about 10% of them fail. We are then able to help match the children with affordable vision care providers to correct any vision problems.
We love hearing success stories from teachers about kids who have had great improvements, either academically or socially, after receiving glasses! For our tax program, I spend my days working with our community partners to set up sites, recruiting and training volunteers, and coordinating with IRS representatives. This program takes a lot of community collaboration, but it is all worth it when we can help a family secure their full refund.
And, of course, I get to work with ten amazing AmeriCorps members that are dedicating a year of their lives to serve the Greenville community with these programs. They are kind, enthusiastic, hard-working, and inspiring, and I know they are making the world a better place.
How do you think Greenville would describe you in one word? "Everywhere." I like to know everybody and work my way into everything that interests me.
How would you describe Greenville in one word? "Growing."
Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville morning hangout? I love visiting Lake Conestee Nature Park to go for a walk, birdwatch, and talk to strangers about birds. The water, wildlife, and foliage are stunning year round, and the park does a fantastic job of letting nature take its course while the humans observe, rather than the other way around.
Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville evening hangout? I'm always up for a good round of trivia, so let me know if there's a place I should check out!