Graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College was an exciting, yet scary time in my life. I was unemployed, moving back in with my parents in Oregon. I knew I wanted to do a year of service -- AmeriCorps, PeaceCorps, or some other volunteer service -- for a year before attending law school. For my year of service, I considered focusing on women’s rights and advocacy for survivors who had been sexually assaulted or abused. However, a month after I graduated I was selected to serve with AmeriCorps at a small Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Northern Minnesota. I had volunteered with Habitat throughout college, and while it was not my first choice, I was excited to start my year of service.
Life in Northern Minnesota was not what I expected. I dealt with cockroaches, leaking ceilings, antifreeze freezing and many other car troubles all while on a limited AmeriCorps VISTA living stipend. While I struggled with these things, I woke up every morning knowing that the work I would be doing that day would help a low income family create stable housing. Having that knowledge helped get me through the long cold winter. While I was serving at Habitat for Humanity I helped five families go from lifelong renters into homeowners of highly energy efficient, well built homes. My role was to create a homeownership education program to teach the families how to properly maintain and budget for their home. I successfully created this program, rewriting a manual and developing classes for new and existing homeowners to assist them with financially and physically caring for their homes.
I decided halfway through my year of service to complete a second year of service before attending law school. Both my AmeriCorps experiences are focused on housing issues. I served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA (volunteer in service to America) with Habitat for Humanity in Virginia, Minnesota, and am currently serving a year with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities. This gives me two years of hands on experience with low income families. Housing issues are important to me because I spent two months homeless as a child. The summer between second and third grade my family lived in a tent at a campground in Oregon; we did not have a home. Our first apartment after the campground was a cramped one-bedroom apartment for four people, two cats and a dog. Having lived in substandard housing, I am passionate about helping families find decent, affordable homes to live in.
I am also passionate about helping and supporting victims of domestic violence. My goal is to become a prosecutor who focuses on cases involving domestic abuse and sexual assault. As a prosecutor I will focus on helping survivors gain their voice back by pursuing justice in the court system. Many women who survive domestic violence or sexual assault are blamed, and feel they have nowhere to turn. When I was a senior in college I learned about a rape of a 15 year old girl in my hometown. I did not find out about it in the newspaper. I found out about it on Facebook; some of my “friends” had been commenting on a page “supporting” the man who raped her, when in reality it was a public shaming of the girl who was raped. Members of the community were calling her names and saying it was her fault. Some even began to “tag” and bring in former rape victims. Seeing that page and reading the comments made me realize that survivors need more support after acts of violence, and I could be part of a support system for people who had been violated by sexual assault or domestic violence.
I have the ability to take an experience that can be perceived as a negative and turning it into a goal, a way to enact change. I lived in substandard housing as a child and now have decided to make it my goal to help as many families as I can to live in decent housing. The rape of the 15 year old girl, while a terrible thing, was the final straw that made me want to dedicate my life to advocating for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
I have a drive to improve the lives of the people in my community. Whether it be serving with a housing nonprofit or as an advocate for someone who has survived domestic violence or sexual assault, I want to help and bring a great deal of enthusiasm and experience to the table.
The last paragraph would explain why the law school would be an excellent fit for me.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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