The AmeriCorps Alums Chapter Network offers a unique opportunity for alumni to build and develop leadership and career skills by serving in a chapter leadership position. But rather than just tell you about it ourselves, we wanted you to hear how the opportunity has benefited our alumni straight from their own mouths.
Below are the stories of two AmeriCorps Alums chapter leaders, Dhri Pandya of the North Texas Chapter and Pedro Barrientos of the Los Angeles Chapter: Read more…
Today’s guest post comes from Jen Rudolph, Program Animal Specialist at Rhode Island Zoological Society
On January 1, 2008, after a very difficult time in my life, I woke up and made a promise to myself that I would find a way to change the world for the better. Of course, this is an overwhelming goal if you look at all the world’s problems but if you can identify one problem at a time, like any other task, it becomes possible.
For me, working in corporate America, specifically for a retailer whose main goal was to produce more “stuff”, I began to realize that I had stopped listening to that little voice inside me that had always looked to nature for comfort. I began my search for opportunities at one of the places I would go as a child to connect with animals, my local zoo.
When I went to the zoo’s website, I found an AmeriCorps program that offered a year of service providing environmental education to core communities. The idea of leaving my corporate job (and corporate pay) was terrifying but underneath that initial feeling of terror was excitement and most important, possibility. Read more…
Today’s guest post comes from Margaret Garvey, Founder and Director of Arizona Serve. Currently, they’re recruiting for AmeriCorps VISTA positions starting this summer. You can find these opportunities at My AmeriCorps by searching ‘Serve Yavapai’ under program name.
I am not really a morning person. So, in July of 2006 when I boarded the airport shuttle in Prescott, Arizona at 5:30am to start the two hour ride to the airport on the way to Pre Service Orientation (PSO), I was not really in the mood to chat.
Being a city girl, newly transplanted to rural Arizona, public transportation felt like a familiar comfort. My plan was to pop in my headphones, curl up with my bag, and go back to sleep. This was the first of many plans I would make during my year of service that would not workout, and all the better for it. Read more…
After weeks of collecting submissions and days of voting in the “I Serve Because…” Video Contest, we have a winner!
Congratulations to Erica Gordon, an AmeriCorps Alum who served with College Forward in Austin, TX. Erica’s story – from switching careers to finding her passion through AmeriCorps, inspires us to make an impact in the communities we serve and live in. Thank you Erica for modeling a Lifetime of Service!
Also, congratulations to runner up, Midcoast Maine Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums for their compilation video featuring a variety of local Alums voices sharing their “Made in AmeriCorps” stories.
Continue reading below to view their winning “I Serve Because…” submissions:
Erica Gordon of College Forward
Midcoast Maine Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums
When Senator Tom Harkin called on all national service supporters to take part in the “I Serve Because…” video contest, we had no idea the wide arrange of truly inspiring stories we would receive – over 130 to date!
On behalf of everyone at Save Service, Voices for National Service, and Service Nation, we would like to extend a special thank you to our finalists and all participants for sharing their stories with us.
Together, you have told a powerful story about the impact of national service on countless lives in communities across the country. Just because the contest is over, it doesn’t mean we want to stop hearing from you. Our goal is to build a collection of inspiring stories from every state in the country to continue lifting up local voices in support of national service. Continue to upload and share your story today!
Alums, thank you for sharing your “I Serve Because…” story of service with AmeriCorps Alums and Save Service, a campaign led by Voices for National Service and ServeNext! We really appreciate that you took the time to show your support for national service by participating in the first ever “I Serve Because…” Video Contest.
In a little over a month, more than 130 videos were submitted by alumni, current members, and supporters of AmeriCorps service. Each story collected spoke to the powerful impact that national service can have in communities and in the lives of those who serve. These videos will be invaluable tools as we continue to advocate for the future of service in our country. You helped to put a face to service by providing visibility which is critical to the work we do going forward.
A different sort of blog post comes this morning from AmeriCorps Alums – We’d like to ask you to consider supporting Rhonda Ulmer, a fellow alumna of AmeriCorps, in her ongoing battle with cancer.
I’ve personally had the pleasure to work, serve, celebrate and laugh alongside Rhonda Ulmer over the years. She’s a 2008 winner of the AmeriCorps Alums Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award, 2012 AmeriCorps Alums Champion of Change at ‘AmeriCorps Alums Day at the White House’ and a 2009 L’Oreal Woman of Worth Honoree.
Most impressive is that Rhonda received those accolades because she took her AmeriCorps ‘getting things done’ attitude to heart when she first founded University for Parents. Responding to a need she saw in her community, Rhonda’s organization built strategies and resources to support parents and the academic achievement of young people.
Now Rhonda is facing an incredible personal challenge: Read more…
Today’s guest post comes from Melissa Simmermaker, Chair of the Des Moines AmeriCorps Alums Chapter
My first experience with disaster response came as unexpectedly as my initial decision to join AmeriCorps. On a whim, and in the midst of what I fondly refer to as my “quarter-life crisis,” I accepted a position as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS). The position included working primarily with the commission’s statewide network of certified mentoring programs. However, less than two weeks into my first term of service, life threw a curveball.
On May 25, 2008 an EF-5 tornado ripped through the small town of Parkersburg, Iowa. To this day, I still remember my conversation with Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director of the ICVS, as I sat, stunned in his office. “We’re sending you to Parkersburg to help with disaster response. Pack enough clothes for about a week. Actually, pack enough for a month.” The very next day, at a trailer parked alongside a cornfield, I reported for my new assignment in Parkersburg. For the next month, I scouted work sites, managed volunteers, organized community donations, and fell in love with disaster response work.
Fast forward nearly four years to another disaster and to yet another unexpected conversation with my executive director. Read more…