Today’s guest blog is adapted from two letters AmeriCorps alumna Nichole Hill shared with AmeriCorps Alums after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It is also part of the AmeriCorps Alums REALTalk blog series on race, equity, and AmeriCorps alumni as leaders.
I was challenged by and am proud of the two years I served as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, CO from 2008-2010. In NCCC I saw the unequal distribution of resources and access to opportunities that exist across communities all over the country, and the consequences of those inequities. I also saw government agencies, nonprofits, churches, community groups, and everyday citizens come together to combat those imbalances in an effort to create a more equitable world for themselves, their neighbors and future generations. I was inspired. Read more…
Today’s blog is written by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce and Ben Duda.
Recently, we issued a statement in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five officers in Dallas: Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, and Patrick Zamarripa. We grieve now too for Baton Rouge Officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson and Deputy Brad Garafola. Each of their deaths is a brutal reminder that we have much work ahead to live up to the promise of the AmeriCorps pledge and “bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.”
We’re restless. What can AmeriCorps Alums – as individuals and as a network – do to move our communities away from division, hate, and violence and towards unity, equity, and opportunity? Over the past 18 months, we’ve been meeting with hundreds of AmeriCorps alums across the country to answer that question and to inform our strategic direction. In recent days, we have heard from many of you that you’re feeling scared, sad, hopeless, numb, confused, frustrated.
Just last week, at a White House convening, we joined hundreds of colleagues to discuss the power and potential of civic engagement. We want to advance this conversation and work – and to hear from you. What resources are you or your organization using to make sense of recent events and build stronger bonds of civic engagement and equity? What are you reading, and to whom are you looking to for guidance, support, and inspiration?
Today’s guest blog is written by City Year AmeriCorps alum Amanda Panciera. Amanda is a Franklin Project Ambassador through the Service Year Alliance, an AmeriCorps Alums Milwaukee Chapter Leader, and a member of the Serve Wisconsin InterCorps Council. This post is part of the AmeriCorps Alums-led #AmeriGrad project, a yearly initiative that celebrates graduating AmeriCorps members and all AmeriCorps grads by connecting them to the Alums network, each other, and to Alums’ career supports.
Remember the excitement when you first began serving with AmeriCorps? You’d just received your cool new AmeriCorps gear, met awesome fellow AmeriCorps members, heard about the difference you were going to make, and you were like …
Then you got to work and realized how much had to be done.
But you knew you couldn’t give up. You had the opportunity to make a difference and learn along the way, so with a motto of “Getting Things Done” guiding you, you did just that. You worked with others, found your path, and set out to meet your community’s needs. Read more…
We took the AmeriCorps pledge to make communities safer, stronger, and healthier. The events of the last few days are a brutal reminder that we have much work ahead. Injustice and hope, disparity and possibility: this is why we were called to serve. This is why we continue to serve. Our commitment to the pledge is not separate or apart from our response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, or Officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael J. Smith. It is our pledge. We will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, take action. Faced with conflict, seek common ground. Faced with adversity, persevere.
Today’s blog is written by Allisha Tull, AmeriCorps Alums’ newest team member and a three-time AmeriCorps VISTA alum. Allisha serves as AmeriCorps Alums’ Programs Coordinator (see full bio below).
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” is a quote I saw throughout my years in AmeriCorps, but I never truly paid much attention to it. However, Mahatma Gandhi was absolutely right. I am living proof of it. After spending three years as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in different areas around the country, I can honestly say that each experience shaped my identity.
When You’re Lost, Look for the Nearest Catapult
Growing up, I struggled with my identity (as I know many people do). Being a curvy black girl from Philadelphia, people have always assumed that I am loud and outgoing. Instead, I was shy and quiet. I wanted to explore, but I couldn’t find my voice to express myself. And where I grew up shyness was treated as a bad habit … or a mild sickness. “Aw, get better soon.”
Regardless of my introverted awkwardness, service became a significant bridge into the world. Or a catapult. At times I dove, feet first, into the unexpected just because I enjoyed the thrill of learning new things about the world, different cultures, and myself.
In my first year as a VISTA in Western Colorado, I had to inevitably overcome many obstacles. I had never before been in a land-locked state with no support system. No one pitied me as a “struggling college student” anymore. If there was something Mesa County Partners or the Western Colorado Conservation Corps needed me to do, I had to find or create the tools to do it. Sometimes it was emotional torture.
After one year in Colorado serving as a recruitment specialist, I barely recognized myself. It was a good feeling to work with a mentoring organization and a conservation corps, but no one could have prepared me for the whole experience. Read more…
Each June we celebrate #AmeriGrad and recognize the incredible impact a year of service can have on a community and on those who serve. But, what does the AmeriCorps Class of 2016 have to say about AmeriCorps and their service? Below, we’re honored to spotlight inspiring Corps members who shared their stories with us.
We hope their reflections inspire you to share yours too. Upload a picture and a short quote about your service to our AmeriGrad Hall of Fame page and join the celebration!
Today’s blog was created with the help of AmeriCorps Alums intern Shannon Culverwell and is part of our #AmeriGrad celebration that honors all AmeriCorps grads by connecting them to the Alums network, each other, and to career supports.
Out of the nearly one million alumni who have graduated from AmeriCorps, many have gone on to do great things in the social sector or even become famous athletes or entertainers! Have you ever wondered which celebrity AmeriCorps alum you are most like?
Take our quiz below quiz and find out!