Chicago to Montana: A Bona Fide Experience of Trust By Demetrius Sudduth-Peterson

February 4, 2022
Demetrius is an AmeriCorps Leader serving at Montana Technological University with The Institute for Educational Opportunities

Before AmeriCorps, I was a high school substitute teacher with interest of gaining more professional development and career readiness within higher education. The education benefits and network provided by AmeriCorps was my initial motivating purpose, however, after being three weeks into my term, I now feel beyond appreciative of the precious privileges that serving others has taught me about myself. The State of Montana is a completely different culture than Midwest Chicago. Much more loving and friendly people in the communities. I had a lot of unintentional misunderstanding vibes from people back home as they would tell me; “You are going to freeze in the cold,” “you may be the only person of color there,” or “how are you going to survive living off of stipends!” The answers to all of those valid concerns defines TRUST. The foundation of the AmeriCorps reputation and mission is a clone of the definition of being an American. From slaves obtaining freedom migrating to the industrial cities for opportunity, from American Indian Tribal mutual affairs with the federal government and conflicts, from European immigration into major US cities; it is human nature to discover and explore opportunities whether forced or voluntarily. I say all of this to express how I feel my third week of an eight-month term. I feel like I have settled into an abundance of provided resources and it is too early to decipher, but I am nonetheless having an amazing time in Butte, Montana serving at the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Technical University.

A view of the Montana Tech M

Now for the specific engagements! Every day from the first, is dynamic. On weekends I enjoy kicking back with the other AmeriCorps members through recreational adventures. Weekends, I have spent time learning about the historical and naturally resourceful stories about Butte, Montana during hikes around the mountains. Butte, Montana is known as “The Richest Hill on Earth” due to the essential minerals like copper and silver that is mined here. I have yet gone on a tour of the famous Butte mining areas such as the Berkley Pit, but literally next to the house where I live is the Anselmo Mine Head frame that I walk past everyday to my host site at Montana Technical University. I attend basketball games at the university which are exciting after a long week of serving.

A view from Demetrius’ daily walk
Demetrius reading to students during Martin Luther King Jr. Read for Peace

Saving the best and most important for last, serving in the community is legitimately self-rewarding on the full spectrum of emotions, organizational planning, creative avenues and more. I almost cannot explain in writing how much you enjoy knowing the fact that AmeriCorps Leaders service is meaningful and uplifting in our host communities. My second week of my term, I read Martin Luther King Books to the local elementary schools. No words can explain how much fun we had teaching children about the life and legacy of MLK. Next blog, I will be able to narrow down on the specifics of my growth and development while serving, but during the third week of eight months, this is how a Chicagoan feel moving to serve with AmeriCorps Leaders and the Montana Campus Compact.

A Montana Tech basketball game after a day of service