AmeriCorps members often solidify existing interests and work toward future career goals during their service experience. This was the case for 24-year-old Tucker Hlad. Currently performing his service through online video and chat features due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tucker shares about his experience with Mentors for Success in Columbus and how it has shaped him personally and professionally. Question: Where do you serve? Answer: I serve at Rosemore Middle School in Whitehall just east of Columbus. Q: What do you do in this role? A: I serve as a school-based mentor for middle school age students though Mentors for Success. Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the community you serve? A : Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school where I serve ended in person classes and all school related work was moved online. Q: How has COVID-19 changed the way you serve? How have you adapted your efforts to comply with restrictions due to the virus? A : Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would meet with students one-on-one once a week in the school building. Now, I serve by communicating with students through Google Classroom where I post activities, and through email/Google hangouts to check in to see how students are doing. Q: What does it mean to you to serve your community during this time? A : I chose to be a mentor so I could be an extra resource and a positive presence for students. It is my hope to continue being that for them even during this unprecedented time. Q: How has serving as an AmeriCorps member impacted your life? A: Through AmeriCorps, I’ve gained experience working with youth in a school environment, which is important to me because I am planning to become a school counselor. Overall, serving with AmeriCorps has helped me learn more about how to be an advocate for students. Q: What have you enjoyed most about your experience? A: I really enjoyed getting to know the students that I serve and learning about their interests and life goals. Q: Can you share a memorable moment from your service experience? What made it so memorable? A: One memorable moment is when I built a marshmallow and toothpick tower with a student for a fun relationship building activity. During the activity, the tower was unstable and almost fell many times, but I was able to provide positive encouragement. Over the course of building the tower, I saw them use creative solutions to keeping the tower standing like deconstructing marshmallows at the base in order to make a sticky surface to use to attach the tower to the table. By the end, the student seemed to have gained confidence in themselves through sticking to the task without letting themselves become discouraged. Q: Would you recommend joining AmeriCorps to your peers? Why or why not? A: I would because it is a very rewarding experience where you serve directly in the community. Q: What’s next for you? A: This upcoming fall semester, I am starting grad school at The Ohio State University in the School Counseling Program.