Today’s guest blogs come from alums who shared stories on twenty.americorpsalums.org and mark our fourth blog in the #Iamthe20th series! Do you want your AmeriCorps program or Alums chapter to be featured next? It’s easy! Take a picture with our #Iamthe20th sign, post it on social media with the hashtag #Iamthe20th, and email your blog to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Loretta Salazar-Morgan and Dan Morgan
Why did you share a story on twenty.americorpsalums.org?
We were asked to, but we continue to support AmeriCorps and National Community Service programs. If we can encourage a young person to change their own life and make a difference in the community, we are all for it!
Where did you serve and where are you now?
THEN: We both served in AmeriCorps NCCC at the Denver campus. Dan was in Class I and II; I was in class II and III. We have been together since meeting in year II.
NOW: We are now married with three young boys. We currently live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Describe how you were #MadeInAmeriCorps in six words.
Skills & lessons learned to make a difference
On July 8th, AmeriCorps Alums piloted a Virtual Career Fair with 15 employer partners led by title sponsors American Red Cross, Boys Town and Teach For America. This inaugural effort, which will become a seasonal event, successfully linked Alums to nonprofit, corporate, and government organizations eager to recruit from our talented Alums network. One recruiter values that Alums are “flexible, work effectively within diverse communities, and are mission driven.” Another recruiter appreciated that alums come in with a team orientation, a “client and community focus, strong communication skills, and experience building relationships.” We agree and are eager to expand the pathway from your service to your career with more partners. Currently, our partners have over 15 job opportunities you can apply to now!
Today’s guest 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 questions here or learn more tips on her website: careerhappinesscoach.com.
1. STOP Saying Networking
The word “Networking” can conjure up images of smarmy people, uncomfortable favors or long awkward silences. Instead think about it as “building your network” which represents mutually reciprocal, professional relationships with people you respect, admire and want to work with now, and in the future.
Notice I said “work with” not “for.” Even if that person does hire or recommend you for a job, that should only be one part of your relationship building. Your professional network could include grant writing partners, community collaborators, potential panelists (or someone who asks you to speak at their event!), prospective applicants for a job you’re hiring for…and the list goes on and on.
Reciprocity might not be obvious to you right now, but think about how mutuality could develop in the future. Building Career Capital with a community of individuals with shared interests and goals could result in a greater impact for your causes. It can start off as easy as closing a thank you email after a networking meeting with this line, “Thank you again for your help, and if there’s ever anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.” Then you might give them a heads up about a relevant event or article, or ask them for coffee and have an agenda-free meeting when you talk about issues and shared interests. Light, authentic “touches” keep you connected now and into the future.
Today’s post is from our July 2014 Career Newsletter sponsor Concordia University, St. Paul.
Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) provides $5,000 to AmeriCorps graduates who enroll in any CSP undergraduate or graduate program. Founded nearly 125 years ago as an institution dedicated to service-minded students, we highly value AmeriCorps Alums for their interest in service and the professional skill development and work experience that they gained through AmeriCorps.
We enroll more than 1,500 adult undergraduate and graduate students in online, blended or in-class cohorts. All of our students bring unique experiences from their professional lives that benefit their fellow cohort members, who stay together for the duration of the program. Concordia offers an array of programs, including degrees in business, finance, education and more.
Emily Stage (’06, ’11) AmeriCorps and Concordia Alum shares her story:
My experience with AmeriCorps built upon my undergraduate experience with Concordia and prepared me for a master’s program down the road. I knew that I was passionate about mentorship and urban education, so when AmeriCorps matched me with an at-risk middle school mentoring program, it was a perfect fit.
Later, in my Concordia graduate program, I was able to connect and share so many of my AmeriCorps experiences with course lessons, which really allowed me to flourish in the program. I then began working in a program called Upward Bound. It was so rewarding when I ran into some of the students in the halls of the high school that I worked at. These were some of the middle school kids that I worked with through AmeriCorps, kids who were deciding whether to stay or drop out, and some of them trickled into Upward Bound!
If you’re looking for a university responsive to the needs of today’s students that offers relevant skills employers need and real preparation for thoughtful living and service, we invite you to explore Concordia University, St. Paul.
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2014
Contact: Maria Caruso
AmeriCorps Alums Communications Coordinator
(Atlanta, July 2014) —
In what’s believed to be the first and most far-reaching offer of its kind, Concordia University, St. Paul in Minnesota has announced today that it will extend a $5,000 scholarship to any AmeriCorps alumni accepted into any of their undergraduate or graduate programs. This benefit for domestic service is the broadest example yet of how the higher education community is competing over talented young people who serve in AmeriCorps, and the critical 21st century skills in teamwork, project management, facilitation, and communication that are developed in their service year. Over 120 Title I schools currently provide some benefit to domestic national service alumni, whether through an application waiver, scholarship, or matching grant to individuals who complete an AmeriCorps term of service. AmeriCorps Alums, the national nonprofit network for the nearly one million Americans who have served domestically since 1994, notes that this accelerating trend is especially exciting in light of the upcoming 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps in September.
Ben Duda, Co-Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums, remarked, “This is a wonderful endorsement of the talent that chooses to serve our country, and then has incredible potential to lead in our communities. We’re very thankful that our partners at Concordia University, St. Paul are investing in college completion and degree advancement, so that alumni of AmeriCorps can continue to evolve into the leaders our country needs right now.”
Today’s guest post comes to us from Patrick McLoughlin, AmeriCorps Alumni (2010-2011) serving with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky with the Build Corps team. He currently works in construction management in Chicago, Illinois, and recently co-founded Build Abroad. Patrick received his B.A. in Architecture from Miami University with a minor in entrepreneurship. During his time at Miami, he did a study abroad in Ghana, West Africa, helping design and build a school in the village of Abrafo Odumasi.
The thing that I noticed while working with AmeriCorps was that construction projects make a very physical impact on a community. From 2010-2011, I was serving with AmeriCorps with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky (HHCK). I was working on the “Build Corps” team, which did rehab and renovation work for low-income family homes. HHCK is in essence the “mother” organization for a number of smaller local organizations. I was working with the Midtown Alliance of Neighbors in Paducah, Kentucky, where I concentrated on serving local residents through repair and renovation projects. During my year with AmeriCorps, I helped do construction projects on dozens of projects for low-income residents and helped organize two “Repair Affair” days, which involved coordinating work on over 10 homes in a single day.
As an architecture graduate, I saw humanitarian construction as a very physical representation of how we can help those less fortunate.
Today’s blog marks our third blog in the #Iamthe20th series! Our guest blogs come from alums who shared stories on twenty.americorpsalums.org and are part of AmeriCorps Alums of North Texas. Do you want your AmeriCorps program or Alums chapter to be featured next? It’s easy! Take a picture with our #Iamthe20th sign, post it on social media with the hashtag #Iamthe20th, and email your blog to email@example.com!
Why did I share a story on twenty.americorpsalums.org?
I shared because…
I like to take advantage of every opportunity to inform people about AmeriCorps and National Service. It’s a story that doesn’t get told nearly enough. The experience I had was incredible. I met some of the most amazing people and realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life helping others realize the value of service. Thus far, I have had the opportunity to work with incredible people that have taught me a lot and have had some amazing adventures. People who serve are my favorite people in the world.
Where did you serve and where are you now?
THEN: AmeriCorps *National Civilian Community Corps Western Region when it was based in San Diego, CA (1997-1998 as a Corps Member, 1998-1999 as a Team Leader, 1999-2001 as a staff member). The experience shaped the direction of my life.
NOW: Senior Manager, Disaster Preparedness at the Volunteer Center of North Texas, Chapter Leader of AmeriCorps Alums North Texas
Describe how you were #MadeInAmeriCorps in six words.
Find a need, fill a need.