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How Two Weeks of Volunteering Transformed Into Ten Years of Service

October 6, 2015

headshotToday’s guest blog is from AmeriCorps NCCC alum Amelia Brown (full bio included after the blog). 

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” — Rabindranath Tagore

It was an honor to be an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member. As part of the experience, my team and I continually faced aspects beyond our control: teammates, assignments, location, housing…One aspect I cherished the most about my team was that through all challenges we focused on what was within our control: how we could be of service.  We may have argued over who ate the last chocolate granola bar (a luxury when working on a government stipend) on the way to build a bridge in a swampy Louisiana park, but once our steel toed boots touched the ground we were all focused on the project we were called to complete. Not only did we fulfill our commitment to service, but we did it with joy.  

I was able to continue working in the spirit of joyful service when AmeriCorps Alums provided the opportunity for disaster relief work post-Katrina in New Orleans. A two-week volunteer experience evolved into two years as a Volunteer Director of Hands On New Orleans in partnership with First Street United Methodist Church and the Central City community. People came from across the world to give what they could from 2x4s to forward thinking to rebuild a city they had grown to call home.


Volunteers had a tradition of leaving behind a mark on their bunk bed, and this quote is the mark Amelia chose to represent her time.

Our 24-7 volunteer center was a whirlwind of activity and a place where many could start, continue, or renew their commitment to service. It was among a church community room turned bunkhouse for 100+ volunteers that I heard late night giggles and whispers of volunteers trading stories of crushing through walls in their favorite Tyvek suit. Morning tears of exhaustion fell among the mountains of shovels, hammers, and goggles when faced with the reality and scope of work to be done on yet another day. Among the dried tears were sighs of release, a focus on how much a dedicated team can accomplish, and a renewed determination to give all the day would allow — and a little more. Under the sweltering sun, I saw volunteers and residents clasp hands over a pile of boards, trash, and moldy memories that were once called home. During Sunday service, I was surrounded by songs I had never sung and felt strength I had never known. The opportunity to volunteer allowed us to share horror and hope, destruction and rebuilding, aftermath and inception. Read more…

When Women Get Stuck, America Gets Stuck

October 1, 2015

Mary Bruce 1Today’s blog is written by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Director Mary Bruce. 

Yesterday, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. released Women in the Workplace 2015, a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg writes, “Using the talents of our full population is critical.” And the new study shows we are not. About three-quarters of companies say gender diversity is a top priority, but employees don’t see it. Workplace policies and realities don’t reflect it. For example, while a majority of companies surveyed offer career development and flexibility programs like extended leave or reduced schedules, few employees take advantage of them. As a result, women remain underrepresented at every corporate level – and especially in the C-suite.

What are the consequences of this underrepresentation? Simply put, Sandberg explains, “When women get stuck, corporate America gets stuck.” She continues, “There is a wealth of evidence that diversity helps teams and organizations perform better in terms of innovation, creativity, revenue and profits.”

It’s not just corporate America that’s stuck. It’s America. Let’s take a look at the nonprofit sector – worth almost $800 billion to the U.S. economy and employing more than 10 percent of the American workforce. Here’s what we know: Read more…

Connect with AmeriCorps Alums at the Conference on Volunteering and Service!

September 29, 2015


Grab your cowboy boots and AmeriCorps Alums gear and join us at Points of Light’s Conference on Volunteering and Service in Houston, TX, on Oct 19-21! There will be many opportunities to network, learn, and strategize with us in, and we hope to see you there! (Did you already wear out your old AmeriCorps shirt or Alums gear? You can get new Ameri-gear here!).

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to register for the conference and join us for our alumni sessions (click here to sign up). For those of you that already registered for conference, check out our NEW limited-seating special event and add it to your itinerary. An overview of our new event and our other conference sessions are below. Be sure to also join us in a reserved section for AmeriCorps alums at opening and closing plenaries.

AmeriCorps Alums at the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service.

AmeriCorps Alums at the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service.

Below, we share four special Alums opportunities at Conference. Thank you for making a commitment to stay connected with us and for making communities safer, stronger, and healthier!

NEW Special Session (Limited Spots Available!)

  • Wednesday, October 21, 8:30-10:00 a.m. – AmeriCorps Alums Strategy Feedback Session (Log-in & add this session today or click here to register for the conference and then add this session!). Join us for a special strategic planning session on the future of AmeriCorps Alums. Learn more about our strategic direction and provide feedback on how we can continue to build the alumni movement to make communities safer, stronger, and healthier. To RSVP, you’ll need to register for conference or log back in to your registration and add this session. If you’ve already registered for conference, you’ll need to provide your Reference Number located in your confirmation. Click here to log in to your registration and RVSP.

Read more…

4 Ways a Graduate Degree in Business Can Help You Make a Difference

September 24, 2015

Today’s sponsored article comes from 2U Inc.’s online business programs. AmeriCorps alumni are eligible to receive a $5,000 tuition benefit upon acceptance and enrollment into any 2U-powered program. For more information on 2U’s business programs outlined below, click here

AmeriCorps alums share a passion for serving communities, improving the lives of people in need, and leading new initiatives. Most of all though, alums have a commitment to getting things done. Of course, that dedication to driving positive change does not end when your service is over — so how do you take the next step toward becoming a lifelong community leader? For many alums, the answer is education.

While there are a variety of higher education options for AmeriCorps Alums, one especially valuable degree path that is often overlooked is a degree in business. Here are four reasons why you should consider earning a graduate business degree post-AmeriCorps:

  1. You’ll Build on the Leadership Skills You’ve Developed

Much like AmeriCorps, leadership is a key focus of any great MBA program. Being able to strategize, organize, and communicate effectively are essential to achieving goals, whether those goals be corporate-focused or service-driven. Programs like MBA@UNC, UNC’s online MBA, pride themselves on producing leaders in all fields and industries. Read more…

AmeriCorps Alums, 2U to Increase Access to Graduate Degrees for Those Who Served in AmeriCorps

September 22, 2015
Press Release
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 – 1:00pm

LANDOVER, Md., Sept. 22, 2015 – 2U, Inc. is partnering with AmeriCorps Alums to provide its members with a $5,000 tuition benefit toward quality graduate degrees at top-tier universities in business, government, social work and mental health, health care, education, and other high-demand career areas. 2U partners with leading colleges and universities to deliver the world’s best online degree programs so students everywhere can reach their full potential.

“AmeriCorps Alums and 2U are ideal partners because we’re both committed to equipping emerging leaders by expanding their access to educational opportunities,” said AmeriCorps Alums’ Co-Executive Director Ben Duda. “A recent survey showed that nearly three-quarters of graduating AmeriCorps members want careers that change the world. Our partnership with 2U connects these national service alumni to the education, skills and experiences they need make our communities safer, stronger and healthier.”

2U-powered programs offer AmeriCorps Alums members the opportunity to earn a graduate degree from wherever they are living or serving. Live classes are accessible on 2U’s dynamic Online Campus, and students can work on weekly coursework at their own pace at home or on a 2U-developed mobile app.

“The civic leadership and skills gained through a year of service in some of our country’s most vulnerable and underserved communities make AmeriCorps alums ideal students – civically engaged, mission driven and committed to making an impact. We’re proud to be working with AmeriCorps Alums to support their members’ aspirations to advance their service and career goals by offering tuition benefits in these fields,” said Chip Paucek, 2U CEO and founder. “People shouldn’t have to choose between growing their careers through education and serving the communities in which they live, and through this partnership, they don’t have to.”

AmeriCorps Alums is a national network that connects the nearly one million alumni of all AmeriCorps programs who have served more than 1.2 billion hours since 1994. AmeriCorps Alums supports each member in reaching his or her full potential as an engaged citizen and civic leader by offering professional and leadership development, empowering a national chapter network, and sharing the voices and stories of hundreds of alumni each year.

AmeriCorps Alums members must be accepted by the applicable university to be eligible for the tuition benefit, which is available for the following programs:

  • MBA@American: Master of Business Administration (MBA) from American University’s Kogod School of Business
  • Nursing@Georgetown: Master of Science Degree in Nursing delivered online by Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • MHA@GW: Executive Master of Health Administration (MHA) from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University
  • MPH@GW: Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University
  • MBA@UNC: Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • MPA@UNC: Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Government
  • Counseling@Northwestern: Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling from The Family Institute at Northwestern University
  • USC Rossier Online: Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in Teaching – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at USC Rossier School of Education
  • Nursing@Simmons: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner program for bachelor’s and non-bachelor’s degree holders from the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • SocialWork@Simmons: Master of Social Work (MSW) from Simmons School of Social Work
  • MSW@USC: Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California
  • Accounting@Syracuse: Master of Science (MS) in Professional Accounting from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management
  • Communications@Syracuse: Master of Science (MS) in Communications from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University
  • MBA@Syracuse: Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management

“MPA@UNC can help AmeriCorps alums reach their potential for leadership,” said William C. Rivenbark, program director and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MPA@UNC, one of the programs eligible for this tuition benefit. “We take their passion for service, combine it with rigorous academic study and real work experience, and inspire the next generation of public leaders.”

For more information about 2U-powered higher education programs available to members of AmeriCorps Alums, click here.

About AmeriCorps Alums
AmeriCorps Alums, an enterprise of Points of Light, is the only national network that connects the nearly one million alumni of all AmeriCorps programs to the people, ideas and resources that support their commitment to a lifetime of service. For more information, visit, follow AmeriCorps Alums on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, read stories on their blog and like them on Facebook.

About 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU)
2U partners with leading colleges and universities to deliver the world’s best online degree programs so students everywhere can reach their full potential. Our Platform, a fusion of cloud-based software-as-a-service technology and technology-enabled services, provides schools with the comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, enroll, educate, support and graduate students globally. Blending live face-to-face classes, dynamic course content and real-world learning experiences, 2U’s No Back Row® approach ensures that every qualified student can experience the highest quality university education for the most successful outcome.



Maria Caruso
+1 (678) 399-2481
AmeriCorps Alums

Shirley Chow
+1 (646) 597-5850
2U, Inc.

Why Job Candidates from Peace Corps and AmeriCorps Are Good for Business

September 16, 2015

This blog is written by Wendy Spencer, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the Director of the Peace Corps. It originally appeared on The Aspen Idea Blog on September 15, 2015. On the one-year anniversary of the Employers of National Service initiative, Hessler-Radelet and Spencer explain why businesses should make an effort to hire individuals who have served in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

FINAL.AmeriCorpsAlums_Top5Skills_promographic_12.08.14Mission oriented. Globally minded. Proven leadership experience in complex, unpredictable environments. Exceptional intercultural skills. Adept at managing limited resources to ensure long-term impact. Flexible. Collaborative. Passionate.

Believe it or not, highly skilled, exceptionally qualified candidates like the ones described above do exist, and not just on paper. They’re ready, willing, and available, and now, there’s a better way than ever for employers to tap into that talent pipeline.

One year ago, President Obama announced a forward-thinking initiative – Employers of National Service – to connect alumni of our nation’s service corps with our country’s leading employers. He urged employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to participate, saying: “If you’re an employer who wants to hire talented, dedicated, patriotic, skilled, tireless, energetic workers, look to AmeriCorps, look to the Peace Corps. … Citizens who perform national service are special. You want them on your team.” Read more…

Our Sincere Thanks to The Founders and Trailblazers

September 14, 2015

Ben and Mary HeadshotToday’s guest blog is written by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce and Ben Duda. 

Before “getting things done” became a mission, it was a vision. In the words of John Gomperts, a former AmeriCorps Director who helped found AmeriCorps and now serves as the president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, the founders of AmeriCorps shared a dream that “a new national service program would offer young people a great opportunity to serve and learn, and that through their service they would help to create opportunities for others.” Today, those leaders who helped establish AmeriCorps continue to invest in national service and its alumni as part of the AmeriCorps Alums Founders Club. Join us in giving thanks to The Founders Club with special thanks to our Steering Committee Members (click here to tweet): Read more…


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