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From Friendship Bracelets to Traditional Ghanaian Meals in the Classroom

September 30, 2014

Hoffman.LeahToday’s guest blog comes from Leah Hoffman an alum of City Year 2010 and 2011, who is currently a first year graduate student in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University’s The Heller School. This blog is the third in our International Careers Series sponsored by IPSL that profiles leading alumni of AmeriCorps working in international and intercultural careers.

It’s hard to remember a time that I wasn’t passionate about education and the opportunity to work with students in unconventional classrooms. Whether spending my summer making friendship bracelets with countless kids as a camp counselor or facilitating service learning projects for wide-eyed elementary schoolers in an after school program during my time with City Year, I’ve always found my service alongside students to be incredibly powerful. Yet, it was surprising a few years ago to stumble across an application and an opportunity to spend a year as an education fellow for a small international development organization in Accra, Ghana. It was even more surprising to find myself, just six short weeks later, catching a red-eye flight into Kotoka International Airport to embark on a year of teaching West African high schoolers in an international college access program.

Though my classroom looked more unconventional than my experiences before, I found the adventure of teaching abroad to be just as impactful and enriching as my prior experience in the classrooms, and often times even more unpredictable. Through my time applying for international teaching programs to closing out my service abroad, I found some key things to keep in mind along the way, many of which apply to a year of service in AmeriCorps too! Learn how to go abroad and teach, build connections with students, and find your next opportunity after teaching.

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Who’s Been Talking About AmeriCorps Alums? Catch Up on Media from the 20th!

September 26, 2014

Here are 20 of the best news pieces focused on the impact of AmeriCorps, its alums, and why more people should have the opportunity to serve. Find out who was talking about AmeriCorps during its 20th anniversary and share the news to keep the conversation going!

Ben & Mary fun headshot1. “Made In AmeriCorps” by Ben Duda and Mary Bruce appeared in The Huffington Post.

2.  “I Will Get Things Done for America: Celebrating 20 Years of Service,” a report by Voices for National Service.

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Our 20 Favorite Moments from AmeriCorps’ 20th!

September 26, 2014

What does Lou Diamond Phillips have in common with four U.S. Presidents? They all celebrated the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. If you missed it, here are our 20 favorite moments from the 20th!

1. President Obama proclaims, “People who love their country can change it. That’s the genius of America!” In related news, 900,000 AmeriCorps alums add “genius of America” to their LinkedIn profile.

President Barack Obama greets participants after remarks to mark the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program, on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama greets participants after remarks to mark the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program, on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

2.  TWO initiatives to support AmeriCorps Alums and their careers were announced that engaged 40+ public, private, and corporate partners! Read how AmeriCorps Alums launched our National Service Corporate Champions and Employers of National Service on our blog, or sign up your employer for Employers of National Service!


3. Lou Diamond Phillips celebrates with AmeriCorps Alums National Advisory Council Chair, Ana Estrada, and two AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award Winners, Kevin C. Miller (far left) and Roger Wong (far right) at California Volunteers 20th anniversary event. If you feel of wave of nostalgia coming on for all things Lou Diamond Phillips, there are hundreds of pins on Pinterest waiting for your lunch hour. 

LouDiamond1.Original from Kevin.b


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Continue Changing Lives & Livelihoods at Clark University Where Financial Aid Starts at $27,000

September 23, 2014


This article is sponsored by Clark University which offers a minimum 40% tuition remission award valued at nearly $27,000 per student in 2014. Clark is currently recruiting for its master’s degree programs in the Graduate School of Management (GSOM) and the International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department. For more information on Clark’s graduate program, go to, call 508-793-7373, or email

If you are looking for a place to grow the skills and tools you will need to continue to be a force for social change after your AmeriCorps service, Clark University’s graduate programs are the perfect option to consider. Like AmeriCorps, Clark’s mission is to develop dynamic leaders who make a positive impact on the lives—and livelihoods—of people in the U.S. and abroad.

All AmeriCorps alumni who are admitted to the graduate programs highlighted below are automatically offered a minimum 40% tuition remission award – this year, that value was nearly $27,000 per student. For talented students, the offer is frequently raised even higher, up to a full tuition remission.

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President Obama Announces New Initiative: Employers of National Service

September 12, 2014

alums logo


For Immediate Release September 12, 2014
Contact: Maria Caruso

President Obama Announces New Initiative: Employers of National Service

An effort that recognizes that AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni

bring great skills and experience to the workplace

Atlanta, GA – As part of the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps commemoration at the White House, President Obama announced Employers of National Service, a new cross-sector partnership that encourages employers to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities for alumni of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. AmeriCorps Alums has worked with the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, and its partners, the Peace Corps and the Franklin Project of the Aspen Institute to launch this initiative.

The first group of Employers of National Service includes leading employers from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Together, these companies and organizations will work to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities for individuals who served in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Director Mary Bruce says, “Public, private, and nonprofit recruiters tell us time and again that AmeriCorps alumni are just what they’re looking for: proven, dedicated, results-oriented leaders … the best of America. Employers of National Service is a critical step to connect those who have served our country through national service to organizations seeking top talent.”

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Made in AmeriCorps

September 12, 2014

Mary Bruce and Ben Duda, AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors

Today’s post is by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors,  Mary Bruce and Ben Duda, and originally appeared on Huffington Post on September 12, 2014.  

Do you know any ruthless optimists? You know, the friends who just won’t take no for an answer and instead organize the best food drive you’ve ever seen? Know any rugged idealists, who can make a fundraiser out of nothing in no time to support disaster relief efforts? It’s always more than just “something,” it’s fabulous, and the local paper features them as “everyday heroes” because they made it look so easy.

If you know folks like these, you probably know humble, hard-working AmeriCorps Alums.

Today, at the White House and in all 50 states, the nation will celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. Since 1994, nearly 900,000 individuals have joined AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.2 billion hours of service that’s done what it was designed to do: “make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.”

AmeriCorps members don’t take the easy road. We break tradition, and our parents’ expectations, by taking a year on (it’s not a year off). We serve, even if it’s not the cool thing to do. We serve when it’s hard – probably because it’s hard.

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Reflections on 9/11: Faced With Adversity, I Will Persevere

September 11, 2014

Roger WongToday’s guest blog is from Roger Wong and originally appeared on the Huffington Post Blog on September, 8, 2014The original post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, in conjunction with both 9/11 (designated a national day of service & remembrance) and the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps (9/12). Roger Wong is currently Global Philanthropy Manager at eBay. He served two years with AmeriCorps through the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, first at Social Capital Inc., (2003-2004) then at Boston Cares (2004-2005). On September 8, 2014, he was named one of AmeriCorps Alums 20th Anniversary Leadership Award Winners.

It’s impossible to forget the moment when I realized finding myself was less about finding a career, and actually about discovering my purpose. For me, that moment was on September 11, 2001 when I saw my friend brutally murdered as her plane slammed into the World Trade Center. I was angry, confused, and sad. I had questions. How was this possible? What could I do? I was looking for a way to respond to this tragedy that rattled our nation and our world. So, faced with apathy, I took action.

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