The theme for this year’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service is “Turning Point.” At Points of Light, we are highlighting turning point stories about the moment or moments that inspired one’s service to society. Today’s Turning Point comes from guest writer, Zachary Watson, Americorps mentor and GED tutor from Evansville, Ind. When not working through AmeriCorps, Zachary spends his time traveling to K-12 schools as a motivational speaker through his business, Trix Stix with Zachary Watson. Zachary creatively inspires students to respect others, set goals, stay motivated in school, stand up against bullying, and veer away from drugs and alcohol by mixing a specialized talent, Trix Stix, with speeches that that capture the audiences he performs in front of.
Service learning and giving the gift of time to communities, organizations and people are some of the most majestic things you can do as a contributor to society. My turning point’s origins can be differentiated between two points in my life. The first happened when I was in seventh grade, when I was accepted to become a peer mentor and tutor. Some of my required duties included: conflict resolution, mediating, schoolwork help, etc. At such a young age, this leadership position showed me how monumental it was to help others. As the years went by, I continued to join and volunteer in such programs.
My junior year in college marks the second and most influential point in my life where I came to the realization that I was indubitably born to serve others. That year, I started my USI Americorps journey. I have now accumulated more than 1,400 service hours to my tri-state area (Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois). I have worked at numerous organizations, from Boy Scouts and state hospitals to counseling places and private properties. The vast amount of experience gained from these on-site endeavors has been life changing. I have seen firsthand the appreciativeness on the faces of the people who I helped earn a GED, or served and fed at a shelter or built a playground for.
Paralleling my trek with Americorps in college, I also started a business, Trix Stix with Zachary Watson. With this business, I use my electrifying persona, enthralling oratory and prose and specialized skills with the Trix Stix to go out in the community and galvanize change…positive change! Because, without change…there can be no future. I am a motivational speaker with platforms and workshops on anti-bullying, anti-drugs and alcohol, the importance of staying focused on the future, leadership, respect, education and its power, health and fitness, and interview skills. I have presented in front of thousands of people at events at schools (elementary through college,) churches, hospitals, correctional facilities, workout gyms, conference centers, concerts, mental care facilities and stadiums. Seeing how my words and actions can move audiences of all ages to modify their lives in a positive direction is a powerful attribute I have. The ability to keep people’s attention while also being motivational is something that many strive for. I am spurring these moments in front of audiences to maintain being a role model and creating atmospheres that are progressive in nature.
Overall, my turning points have helped me understand what it truly means to be an inspiring and positive contributor to society. I plan to continue to spread the word of how service learning is good for the heart, soul and community. Moreover, I will continue to travel the country and marinate the minds of students on the importance of being educated, staying focused on their future and helping others in need.