The rewards of taking the path less traveled

By Daniel Martin

I graduated college close to three years ago, and though I was excited to be finished, it was not an easy time. There were so many different roads for my life to take, and to be honest, it was overwhelming.

I’ve always wanted to make sure that my life had a positive impact on the people around me. Unfortunately, for the first two years after college, I did not get that privilege. I was employed, and for that I am grateful, but I did not get to truly help others.

Last September, I started with Take Ten through the Americorps program.  I moved from my hometown of Muskegon, MI to South Bend, IN. My main inspiration was my hometown. Muskegon had a particularly violent 2014, with several high profile crimes occurring the spring and summer I left. As a result, Take Ten’s message of non-violence had resonated quite deeply within me.

While I was in college, I had spent time volunteering at the South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility (now the Community Re-Entry Center.) In my time there, I witnessed at the devastating effect jail sentences could have on our youth. Coming into Take Ten, I told myself that if all the hours I spend working this year keeps at least one child out of prison, then it will all be worth it.

After several months of service, I stand by that statement as strongly as ever. Every week I get to see students learn ideas they did not know before, and it has been a blessing. Being with Take Ten has been a true experience, one I am happy to carry with me through my other journeys in life.

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