Unexpected Gifts in an Unexpected Place By Cindy Morales

January 21, 2022
Cindy is an AmeriCorps Leader serving at Fort Peck Community College and Poplar High School

I made hard decisions and big leaps in 2021 that led me to an unexpected call to serve. I wasn’t sure what I would do next, until this opportunity presented itself. Even though I was scared, even though it was out of my comfort zone, I ventured out to Poplar, Montana to serve for a year. The big sky and wide open spaces of eastern Montana captivated me. I had told myself to be as open as the landscape that I was coming into, not to expect anything from a place I hadn’t expected to begin with. It was the best thing I could have done to prepare myself for what was yet to come. 

Here I am standing next to Roxanne Smith, Director of FPCC’s Chante Project. We collaborated to put together a FAFSA application night for seniors of Poplar High School

I stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to get to know the community members invested in education and the high school students who I was to mentor. I never could have imagined I’d be in a community collaborating and creating opportunities for their youth. Every challenge has been a hidden gift of self growth and appreciation for all that is and every success has been a gift of happiness.

Really, every step and every experience I have had here so far has been a gift. From watching the resilience and empathy among the students during a loss, to the joy on their faces when they are surprised by an unexpected treat or compliment. The opportunities I have been given to support local organizations achieve their goals in their community has been one of the most rewarding gifts of all. There is so much love and creativity in the Poplar community. Many of these people are just looking for the how and the man power to launch their ideas. As I continue to be of service to these students, staff, organizations and tribal government, I hope to give what I can to bring forth their vision for their community.  

Some of Poplar High School Student’s at FPCC’s Food Sovereignty Event in December, 2021.