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An Internship Worth The Commute

April 9, 2014

Sarah.GinsbergMy friends think I’m crazy- I am a second semester senior at the University of Georgia and two days a week, I spend four hours in the car driving from Athens to my internship in Atlanta at AMERICORPS ALUMS and back to Athens. Though this internship has tallied up the miles on my odometer, it has also provided me with tangible experiences in nonprofit communications. I have refined my writing skills, learned how to plan and host webinars, prepared and proofread newsletters, and collaborated with the rest of the team to launch new initiatives for the alumni community.

In addition to these practical skills, this internship has prepared me for my upcoming service as a member of the AmeriCorps community. I feel like I have received an early induction into the AmeriCorps family. In June, I will begin service with the AmeriCorps program, Teach for America. Though I thought it might be ‘backwards’ to work with an alumni association for a program that I was not yet an alumni of (or even officially a member of yet), I have found it incredibly useful and inspiring. Read more…

Mayor’s Day – Still Getting Things Done

April 2, 2014

Remarks from Mary Bruce, Co-Executive Director, AMERICORPS ALUMS at the Washington, D.C. Mayors Day of Recognition, April 1, 2014.

AMERICORPS ALUMS Co-Executive Director Mary Bruce rallies the crowd during 2014 Mayor's Day of Recognition

AMERICORPS ALUMS Co-Executive Director Mary Bruce rallies the crowd during 2014 Mayor’s Day of Recognition

Thank you so much for including me in this amazing celebration!  I’m here on behalf of AMERICORPS ALUMS, the only national network representing the nearly one million individuals who have served with AmeriCorps since 1994.

Today is the second annual Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service, and we are here to thank those who serve.  Like Jeffrey, the Chief Service Officer of DC, who introduced me, I am an AmeriCorps Alum. And, like him, and like many of you here today, when I began my year of service I pledged “to get things done for America” – my year of service and beyond.

On this Day of Recognition, we’re joining more than 1,750 mayors across the country in this celebration – and of those, more than a few are AmeriCorps Alums. Dayne Whalling is the mayor of Flint, Michigan. But before he was a mayor, he served with AmeriCorps, right there in Flint – and he’s still getting things done for Flint. John Fetterman is the Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.  Before he was mayor, he served with AmeriCorps, right there in Braddock – and he’s still getting things done for PA.

But let’s not talk about Michigan or Pennsylvania – let’s talk about what’s happening right here in DC!

Right now, there are nearly 4,000 currently serving AmeriCorps members in DC.  In fact, since 1994, more than 7.3 million hours have been served by DC AmeriCorps members – and those Corps Members spurred thousands of additional volunteers to get things done in DC.  Through that work, they’ve met critical needs, supporting students and families, getting things done, all across this great city and this great nation.

And that’s what AMERICORPS ALUMS, the organization I lead, does.  We get things done FOR our alumni – so that they can keep getting things done for America because our alumni our amazing.   And not just the Mayors I mentioned. They’re across the city, and across the nation, leading nonprofits, working at foundations, serving on boards, and voting and volunteering at rates far above the national average.  In fact, they’re powering this event — I’d like to thank our DC chapter for coming out early to help set up! Read more…

SPEA Connect Provides Flexible Path for AmeriCorps Alums to Develop as Leaders

March 28, 2014

2014.03.SPEA.Connect750x115

After getting sucked into clicking through another “Top 20…” listicle on BuzzFeed or another level of Candy Crush, it’s easy to identify all the ways that technology has made wasting time easier than ever before.  However, technology also provides the innovation and tools needed to efficiently manage time and resources. Online higher education programs that bring ‘bricks and mortar’ academics to the internet, are an example of this and one that many Alums are taking advantage of.  Anna Duquaine and Erica Abrams Yan are both AmeriCorps Alums attending Indiana University’s SPEA Connect program, a highly regarded (ranked 2nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report) online MPA program designed to prepare AmeriCorps Alums to take their careers to the next level.

Along with more than 50 AmeriCorps Alums who have enrolled in SPEA graduate programs in the last 5 years, Anna and Erica are able to take advantage of SPEA Connect’s generous credit waiver policy that provides any student who served in AmeriCorps with a credit waiver of 3 hours ($2,950 discount) up to a maximum of 6 hours ($5,900 discount).  Because Anna and Erica are both busy professionals, the flexible and convenient structure of the SPEA Connect online MPA program allows them to study where and when it is most convenient for them.  As MPA Director and Professor Bob Kravchuk shares, “We believe our online graduate programs are an ideal fit for AmeriCorps alumni given their dedication to public service, whether they are located in Washington DC or in a rural or urban community.  SPEA Connect allows AmeriCorps alumni to further their knowledge and career prospects without having to leave their families and jobs.” To read more about the SPEA Connect experiences of Anna and Erica, view their stories below.

Read more…

Will You Help AMERICORPS ALUMS Launch ServeAYear.org?

March 26, 2014
AMERICORPS ALUMS Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce and Ben Duda

AMERICORPS ALUMS Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce and Ben Duda are playing a leading role in the campaign’s launch.

Today, AMERICORPS ALUMS joined with ServiceNation and 17 of the country’s leading national service organizations in an effort to make a year of service part of the American way of life.

To learn more about our efforts, check out the campaign website: www.serveAyear.org.

The campaign will connect the stories and impact that AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps alumni are making every day on some of our nation’s toughest issues — from disaster relief and veteran reintegration to college access and childhood nutrition – to the writers and producers in Hollywood who are ready to tell these stories. Our goal is simple, but ambitious: We envision a day when young Americans turn to each other and ask, “Where will your year of national service be?”

Learn more about the campaign here.

AMERICORPS ALUMS serves as the National Strategic Partner for this campaign, highlighting the power of national service to be a cross-cutting solution for our country’s most pressing problems by uniting Americans in common purpose.  Nearly 820,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps over the last 20 years and through this historic campaign, we will showcase how these AmeriCorps alumni are still “getting things done” with more impact than ever before.

Read more…

From AmeriCorps to Google

March 21, 2014

Today’s guest post comes to us from Ben Weaver (AmeriCorps ’12).  Ben served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Points of Light Institute, in partnership with HandsOn Network and Google.  He is currently an Administrative Assistant with Google’s Site Reliability Engineering team in Pittsburgh.

Ben Weaver, AmeriCorps Alum, HandsOn Tech

Ben Weaver, AmeriCorps Alum, HandsOn Tech

In 2011, I spotted a tweet from @iheartpgh that simply said “Like technology? Like helping nonprofits?” with a link to a blog post. The link eventually lead me to the application for HandsOn Tech, a new AmeriCorps VISTA program created by the Points of Light in partnership with HandsOn Network and Google. At the time, I had a full-time job and I was somewhat worried about the very small AmeriCorps stipend, but it seemed like a great opportunity to use my talents and experience with technology to help local nonprofits fulfill their missions. The opportunity to work with the local Google office in Pittsburgh was an added bonus. I knew that Pittsburgh had one of the highest numbers of nonprofits per capita and an ever-growing university landscape and technology sector; I felt that the potential to match these two was huge. I applied and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the program and started a few weeks later.

At the beginning of our service year, we had the opportunity to visit Google’s headquarters in Mountain View for training on nonprofit technology solutions. In addition to the support of HandsOn Tech itself, the trip gave me a lot of insight into Google’s nonprofit outreach, employee volunteering and community affairs teams. It was great to see the involvement they had in the communities where each office was located, which was a welcome change from past employers that did not allow employees to volunteer their skills with local nonprofits.
Read more…

Ask The Career Coach: Compensation Negotiation

March 19, 2014

Today’s blog post comes from our “Ask the Career Coach” Column by Denise Riebman (AmeriCorps ’94), Director of Career Development and Alumni Services for the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University. Denise regularly takes questions from our LinkedIn Group and responds in our “Ask the Career Coach” column.  If you have a question for the AmeriCorps Alums “Ask the Career Coach” column, you can submit it here.

$293.16 was my bi-weekly AmeriCorps stipend in 1994.  It’s no surprise that after AmeriCorps, I was lousy at salary negotiation since if anyone offered me anything even slightly over that amount, I simultaneously felt very guilty and very wealthy.  Don’t make my mistake as each future salary is based on the previous one.  Just a single $5,000 salary bump in your 20s can result in a difference of more than a million dollars over the course of your career.  By learning the Power of Compensation Negotiation, that money can be yours!

Power of Avoidance

If asked for salary requirements in your cover letter, unless it explicitly states that all applicants must include a figure (if so, general rule of thumb is a $10,000 range), write something like:

“My salary requirements are negotiable based upon job responsibilities and overall compensation package.” Read more…

Why A Healthier Future For Our Next Generation Matters

March 17, 2014

Today’s guest post comes to us from Amanda Green (AmeriCorps ’01), Regional Director for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

I started working for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in 2009, a national nonprofit dedicated to reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. I saw the connection between my work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the AmeriCorps pledge, which I’d committed to in 2001 when I served as a Team Leader for AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in Sacramento, California. The AmeriCorps pledge starts, “I will get things done for America, to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.

2014.03.17 Alliance For A Healthier Generation

As a Program Manager for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program from 2009-2010, I worked with schools and districts  throughout the state of Florida to make healthy changes in schools. I was particularly motivated to work with schools in the panhandle of Florida, where I was born and raised. One school in Pensacola, Bellview Middle School joined the Healthy Schools Program in 2006 and focused on increasing physical activity and healthy eating for students. They were the first middle school in the school district to serve breakfast-and their students experienced immediate results. The school nurse reported a 30 percent reduction in students coming to the clinic in the mornings with headaches and stomachaches. Read more…

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