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Find The Grad School That Fits

May 16, 2017

Many schools match the Segal Education Award, offer special scholarships or waive the application fee for AmeriCorps alumni. You can find (and chat virtually with) the school that fits yours career goals this Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 1-4pm EDT.

Click here to register for the fair.

Already registered? Be sure to check out these tips to help you prepare for the fair or view information about each school below.

 

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Brandeis University, Heller School for Social Policy & Management

Location: Massachusetts

About: The mission at the Heller School is to drive positive social change through research, education, and public engagement that inform policies and programs designed to address disparities in well-being and promote social inclusion in a sustainable way. Heller is the only graduate school where the idealism of a social justice mission meets the rigor and prestige of a top-ranked policy school.

Degrees/programs: Business Administration, Global Health Policy Management, Nonprofit Management, Public Policy, Social Policy, Sustainable International Development

Incentive(s): waived application fee, 50% tuition scholarships to AmeriCorps alumni and RPCVs

Highlight(s): dual and joint degree options with Heller programs, Brandeis programs and other universities

Learn More: heller.brandeis.edu

Connect: @TheHellerSchool

 

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University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy

Location: Illinois

About: Steeped in the University of Chicago’s rich tradition of scholarship and innovation, Harris Public Policy faculty and students bring an exacting, data-driven perspective to the full spectrum of policy concerns.

Degrees/programs: Computational Analysis & Public Policy, Environmental Science, Public Policy

Incentive(s): waived application fee, Segal Education Award matching, preferential application consideration, merit scholarships

Highlight(s): over 50% of master’s students receive fellowships or scholarships

Learn More: harris.uchicago.edu

Connect: @HarrisPolicy

 

Marist College

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Location: New York, Florence, Italy or 100% online

About: Marist College is an independent, private liberal arts institution serving upwards of 6,500 students, with approximately 1,200 graduate and adult undergraduate students.

Degrees/programs: 13 Graduate Degrees & Advanced Certificates in areas like: Education, Business, Public Administration, Mental Health Counseling, School Psychology, Communications, Marketing, Information Systems, Computer Science, the Arts, Medicine and Business Analytics

Incentive(s): 25% tuition discount for AmeriCorps members, alumni, and staff. (Savings between $5,850 – $13,260 depending on degree)

Highlight(s): Tuition discount also applies to 30 Undergraduate programs for students 22 years or older

Learn More:  marist.edu

Connect: @Marist

 

New York University, Wagner School of Public Service

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Location: New York

About: Established in 1938, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service prepares serious, talented professionals to face the constantly changing challenges of public service. Trained in management, policy and finance, NYU Wagner students graduate with the skills they need to confront society’s most pressing problems.

Degrees/programs: Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Public Policy, Executive Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy

Incentive(s): application fee waiver; 50% merit-based scholarship specifically dedicated to an AmeriCorps alumnus worth up to $20,000 per year; other partial and full scholarships

Highlight(s): NYU Wagner has dual MPA degree options with other schools at NYU including MBA, JD, MPH and MA in Hebrew & Judaic Studies. You’ll earn both degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately.

Learn More: wagner.nyu.edu

Connect: @NYUWagnerSchool (Facebook), @NYUWagner (Twitter)

 

Prescott College

PrescottCollegeLocation: Arizona, hybrid or 100% online

About: Prescott College’s mission is to educate students of diverse ages and backgrounds to understand, thrive in, and enhance our world community and environment.

Degrees/programs: Social Justice & Human Rights, Adventure Education, Environmental Studies & Sustainability, Education, Humanities, Counseling

Incentive(s): Segal Education Award matching

Highlight(s): The majority of our graduate degrees are hybrid programs through our limited-residency format. The limited-residency format allows you to stay in your community with occasional visits to campus to interact with your peers and your professors.

Learn More: prescott.edu

Connect: @PrescottCollege

 

University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs

squ-cudenverLocation: Colorado or 100% online

About: The CU Denver School of Public Affairs is creating the next generation of visionary leaders in public service and criminal justice professions to solve society’s most pressing problems. Faculty, staff and students also conduct research that improves the quality of life and informs policy making and management in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Degrees/programs: Public Administration, Criminal Justice, Public Affairs. Available concentrations: Local and State Government, Environmental Policy, Gender-Based Violence, Emergency Management & Homeland Security, and Nonprofit Organizations, Crime Analysis.

Incentive(s): 25% full tuition scholarship toward the 1 year full time accelerated MPA program; Resident tuition rates for non-residents attending online; paid fellowship opportunity

Highlight(s): CU Denver has part-time and full-time options including an accelerated, 1 year MPA. Accelerated MPA alumni have maintained over 90% employment placement rates in desired fields within 6 months of graduating.

Learn More: spa.ucdenver.edu

Connect: @SchoolOfPublicAffairs (Facebook), @CUDenverSPA (Twitter)

 

University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education

PennGSELocation: Pennsylvania

About: The Penn Graduate School of Education seeks students who are interested in promoting a deeper understanding of educational issues and contributing to societal change. Bringing diverse experiences to the Penn GSE community, students are both learners and agents of change within the university and the surrounding Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Degrees/programs: Master’s, Ed.D. and Ph.D. study in areas like: Counseling & Mental Health Services, Education Entrepreneurship, Education Leadership, Education Policy, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, Language & Literacy, School Leadership, Urban Education, Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) and more.

Incentive(s): Merit based scholarships

Highlight(s): top 5 ranked education programs

Learn More: http://www.gse.upenn.edu/

Connect: @PennGSE

 

University of Vermont, Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA

SEMBAlogoLocation: Vermont

About:  The University of Vermont’s one-year Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) was designed from the ground up to challenge the traditional MBA. We’ve fundamentally reinvented business education and the MBA degree to address directly the core challenges we face– environment, ethics, poverty and inequality—through the lens of enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Degrees/programs: Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability

Incentive(s): merit based scholarships

Highlight(s): 3 month practicum project with hands-on experiential learning with existing companies or new ventures – Current and past host organizations include Facebook, Ingersoll Rand, PepsiCo, Philips, Seventh Generation and many more; Dual degree option with Vermont Law School

Learn More: uvm.edu/semba

Connect: @UVMsemba (Facebook), @UVM_SEMBA (Twitter)

 

Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School of Social Work

BrownSchoolLocation: Missouri

About: Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis is dedicated to challenging its faculty and students alike to seek new knowledge and greater understanding of an ever-changing, multicultural world.

Degrees/programs: Public Health, Public Health Science, Social Work

Incentive(s): Segal Education Award matching

Highlight(s): one of the world’s lead schools for training social science researchers

Learn More: brownschool.wustl.edu

Connect: @brownschool

 

Willamette University, MBA for Business, Government & Not-for-Profit Management

Willamette2Location: Oregon

About: As a national leader in experiential education, the Willamette MBA prepares students for their first professional position, career change and advancement in business, government and not-for-profit organizations.

Degrees/programs: Business Administration (full-time, part-time), Executive certificates

Incentive(s): waived application fee, Segal Education Award matching, merit based scholarships

Highlight(s): ranked in Business week and Poets & Quants; joint degree programs with JD or BA

Learn More: willamette.edu/mba

Connect: @WillametteMBA

Cinco Reasons to Register Today

May 5, 2017

We’re hosting a virtual grad school fair pretty soon – on May 18th from 1-4pm EDT to be exact – and we’d love for you to attend. This exclusive fair is a chance for you to engage in 1-on-1 text-based chats with graduate schools.

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Here are 5 Reasons to Register for our virtual grad fair TODAY:

  1. Explore – Explore grad programs that love national service and offer Segal Ed Award matching, special scholarships or waived application fees.
  2. Chat – We know thinking (or talking to others) about your future can be scary but practice makes perfect! Even if you don’t plan on going to grad school this year, engaging in chats with grad schools is a great way to get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
  3. Advance – While on the job training is critical, a graduate degree or certificate will allow you to expand your network and provide you with knowledge to advance your career.
  4. Flexible – No matter your location, you can join the event via computer or mobile for 30 minutes or all 3 hours.
  5. FREE! – If serving in AmeriCorps has taught you anything, it’s that free is good. While it may cost you a little $$ to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, our Virtual Grad fairs are always free!

We hope to see you on May 18th, no matter what your cultural background might be! So what do you say?

Sign me up!

Make Your Passion Your Profession

April 20, 2017

Today’s sponsored blog is written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the world’s first school dedicated solely to education and research about philanthropy. AmeriCorps Alums can earn a master’s degree on campus, online, or through an executive option that combines the two. The school will match AmeriCorps members’ Segal Education Award. They also consider your AmeriCorps experience for up to three credit hours toward our master’s degree. Learn more about your options for earning your master’s degree by studying with faculty who are the top experts in their field.

IU-Lilly-rachelRachel Ogorek lives by her belief that anyone can use a passion and his or her gifts to serve and find an area to excel.” She expresses that philosophy through her passion for philanthropy. The AmeriCorps alumna’s interest springs from her time in AmeriCorps: she worked for two years at the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver as a civic engagement coordinator for Bruce Randolph School, a role that connected her to students who were civically engaged.

“It was extremely influential in my life,” she said, adding that it taught her what it means to be part of a community.

After completing her AmeriCorps service, Ogorek headed to Indianapolis and IUPUI to pursue a dual degree from Indiana University: a master of public affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and a master of arts in philanthropic studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Ogorek was challenged in new ways by the program and her position as a graduate assistant in the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning. There, she helped orchestrate a successful partnership among Indianapolis residents who wanted to start a community garden by connecting them to volunteers, organizations that provide plant seeds, and a nearby nonprofit, Seven Steeples Urban Farm. She earned a William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion, an award honoring IUPUI students who have shown an exemplary commitment to their communities.

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Outside her coursework, Ogorek edited and shepherded the publication of a collection of stories. Serve Reflect Repeat includes submissions from AmeriCorps alumni and other national service program participants to help people understand AmeriCorps and the types of experiences available through such programs.

While combing through volunteers’ stories, Ogorek discovered a cohesive theme of personal change emerging from many of them: the person who started out in a national service experience was not the same person who ended it. Although the volunteers set out to help create change for the people and communities they served, they often found themselves changed by their own experiences in the program as well. Ogorek experienced this firsthand when a Denver student who did not want to participate in a day of service was nevertheless transformed by it. The student is now invested in her community, and plans to give back by teaching health in a Denver elementary school after graduating from college.

Today, Ogorek is program coordinator for the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCSP), where she works on its monthly webinar series, its Family Giving Newsletter, and other initiatives, networks, and events.

iu-lilly-garden1Ogorek says her education provided her with the additional knowledge, skills and experience to prepare her for future levels of service. “The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has helped me build on the foundation I received during my time in AmeriCorps,” she says. “While AmeriCorps solidified my goal to work in the nonprofit sector, the philanthropic studies program provided me with valuable tools to become a more knowledgeable practitioner as well as encouraged my desire to continue to be an engaged and active citizen in my community.”

And Ogorek is not alone. Check out a video of other AmeriCorps Alums at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Want to make your mark?

As a student, you come to us with a variety of causes you’re passionate about and a variety of roles in philanthropy you’re interested in pursuing. Advance your knowledge, skills and experience through our master’s degree program to find the most thoughtful paths to making a difference in what matters to you.

Make your master’s degree work for you, so you can make it a reality!

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Need the flexibility of an online option?

Let us help make it manageable. The idea of starting a master’s degree might seem overwhelming, but completing classes online makes it manageable for those who work full time or don’t live in the Indianapolis area. You receive the same degree and are taught by the same faculty as the students who come to Indianapolis to learn. Our online degree ensures the same quality, but offers more flexibility.

Are you a nonprofit executive?

Did you happen into your nonprofit work without a formal education in the field? Our master’s degree allows professionals and executives already working in philanthropy to gain a deeper understanding of the field to further your career goals and your organization’s mission. You can earn a degree entirely online in as little as three years, and you have the option of coming to campus for interaction with faculty and colleagues in the summer.

Want to immerse yourself in philanthropic studies?

Our M.A. program prepares graduates for leadership roles and deeper, more thoughtful and engaged practice in the nonprofit sector. You’ll gain experience in understanding and applying cutting-edge research to grasp how to truly make the world better. Full-time students can earn our degree in two years, and have the option of serving as a community-based graduate assistant to gain experience in what they want to do upon graduation. Full-time students also are considered for additional scholarship opportunities.

Applications are being accepted. Learn more at https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/academics/ma/index.html.

Alex Sventeckis contributed to the writing of this blog.

Start Your Career or Serve Your Country?

March 30, 2017

Today’s guest blog is written by Raffi Wineburg. Raffi is a 2015 AmeriCorps NCCC north central region alumnus. He currently lives and works in Boston, MA.

 

crossroadsignIt was an unusually warm, sunny November day in Manhattan when I received my first job offer. I stood outside my soon-to-be office in a short-sleeved button-up and turned my head to the sky. I smiled as two years of post-college job anxiety simply melted away.

 

The weather turned for the worse when I returned to the office the following week. The building looked very bleak through a gray veil of fog and rain. I’ll always remember that final image of my could-have-been office. I buzzed myself in and turned down the job.

 

Later that week, I cleared out of my Harlem brownstone and flew to Vinton, Iowa (population 5,000) to begin 11 months of national service as a Team Leader for AmeriCorps NCCC.

 

It was the hardest decision I’d ever made: start a career or serve my country. The offer on the table wasn’t just any old job, mind you, but my dream job—being a full-time reporter in New York City.

 

Hard decisions offer a rare opportunity to look beyond material factors like money, comfort and stability. They allow us to consider deeper questions like,

Who am I? What do I believe in? Where do I stand?

 

It was unclear which of my two options would have led to greater wealth, status or any other traditional measure of success. So I threw these considerations to the wind and simply took a stand: I’m with service.

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The next year in AmeriCorps NCCC was perhaps the most impactful and inspiring time of my life. Together with my team, I traveled the Midwest – shacking up in different communities, engaging in some of our country’s most pressing issues and learning in ways I never imagined possible.

 

raffi-fireIn Coon Rapids, Iowa, I set fire to the earth. I watched flames eat their way through prairie grasses, turning whole acres black in an instant, as if the night had suddenly fallen out of the sky.

 

In Flint, MI, I saw a country I didn’t recognize. On some city blocks, in-between two decaying homes there would simply be a pile of rubble where the neighbors’ house had burned down, giving the impression of a rotting mouth with missing teeth.

 

In Willow River, MN, I laid in a bunk and listened to pre-adolescent boys escalate into hysteria as they shared their hopes and dreams: to beat LeBron James in a game of 1-on-1, to have five houses and 10 girlfriends, to be Spiderman, to cure AIDS.

 

After that, they all fell silent. It was a camp for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

 

Throughout my service year, I felt as if I had swallowed some magic bean of infinite potential. I carried a feeling that anything was possible, that I was constantly on the cusp of something incredible. It was only when my service year ended that I realized the incredible thing on the horizon was now behind me.

 

The reason I value writing (thus the reason why turning down my job offer was so difficult) is because it forces me to define and articulate my beliefs. There’s less at stake when you’re talking politics at the dinner table, or yelling at the talking heads on cable news because your thoughts and opinions are fleeting. Not so with writing. Your truth lasts on ink and paper, or on typeset and fiber optics, for all to see.

 

Even so, there’s a certain amount of distance you can have with writing. Just like how, when I was in college, I wrote papers about democracy then forgot to vote. Service, like writing, allows you to define your truth, only it narrows this distance. Through lifting, laboring, sweating, teaching and learning, your service itself pronounces your beliefs. If you work hard every day, you end up with a perfect, final draft.

 

raffi-headshotThrough writing I’ve tried to hone in on my own version of ‘good’. But life is hard. I now work full-time, and my scope becomes intensely narrow as I cycle through the same weekly motions: morning coffee, daily commute, meetings, etc. I can’t or don’t always do the things I’ve claimed are good like volunteering, engaging politically or remembering to call my parents on weekends. But at least AmeriCorps taught me how to do these things (maybe not the last one). It produced a version of myself that I can look back on as a role model, and aspire to become.

 

There’s a line in the AmeriCorps pledge that continues to resonate with me, “Faced with apathy, I will take action.”

 

More than anything, this sums up what it means to serve. Service translates the spirit that we care about one another, as fellow Americans and humans, into action. Because to act is to care, and caring is the opposite of apathy.

 

What would it be if we could all serve and care just a little more?

From AmeriCorps to SIT and the World

March 23, 2017

Today’s sponsored post is written by Shaunbay Ltifi on behalf of School of International Training (SIT). Shaunbay served 3 years with AmeriCorps State & National at Alternatives, Inc. in Hampton, Virginia. SIT Graduate Institute offers master’s degree programs in TESOL, Sustainable Development, International Education, Peacebuilding, and Intercultural Service Leadership and Management. AmeriCorps alumni who have completed their service and are accepted into one of SIT’s master’s degree programs are eligible for a competitively awarded $5,000 scholarship.
Learn more at graduate.sit.edu.

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Shaunbay Ltifi

I joined AmeriCorps in 2010 as a sophomore at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. I was a full-time student and volunteered during my off-time as a life skills and youth development facilitator for middle and high schoolers with Alternatives, Inc. I taught subjects like drug resistance, self-assertion, physical health, and peer influence.

Originally, I planned to spend one year with AmeriCorps but ended up renewing my contract for a total of three years because I loved volunteering – and still do! Toward the end of my last service year, someone suggested that I continue my education through Peace Corps in combination with the master’s program offered at SIT Graduate Institute.

SIT was founded in 1964 as a training center for Peace Corps volunteers. The institution has grown considerably since then and now offers master’s degrees in international education, peacebuilding, TESOL, sustainable development, and intercultural management. SIT has also retained its close connections to the Peace Corps and continues to offer attractive scholarships for returning Peace Corps volunteers and AmeriCorps alumni.

 

AmeriCorps alums who are accepted into an SIT master’s degree program after completing at least one year of service get great incentives like a $5,000 scholarship, Segal Education Award matching and a 25% tuition scholarship for City Year alumni or staff. What’s more, current SIT students can complete AmeriCorps service for their SIT practicum, as long as their service relates to their degree area.

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As it turns out, I didn’t go into the Peace Corps. Instead, I spent a year abroad in Ireland and Tunisia. The combination of AmeriCorps and SIT opened my eyes to the beauty of fully offering oneself to the greater good. Both programs helped me to get closer to where I want to be in life by enabling me to see youths’ worldview and to broaden my own.

 

At SIT, I joined the Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation concentration in hopes of co-piloting my own youth program. I’ve always loved kids and I thought it was amazing that I got to train in classes and participate in the youth programs run by World Learning, SIT’s partner nonprofit organization, doing a lot of the same things that I had done in AmeriCorps. Now, after completing my degree at SIT, I’m working at a public charter school in Washington, DC, using the experience that I learned from both opportunities to serve fifth- and six-grade students.

 

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For anyone considering SIT after serving in AmeriCorps, I would wholeheartedly recommended it. A friend I met at SIT there says, “History speaks here.” Every conversation I had with colleagues reminded me that each person has her or his own unique story to tell. The curriculum, course set-up, and practicum phase all seemed designed to help me dig deep into each story so that I could discover my own.

 

SIT and AmeriCorps both helped me to grow into the person that I am today – someone with a broad worldview. Serving in AmeriCorps was my catalyst for attending SIT, and SIT has been my best career decision so far.

 

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AmeriCorps alumni who have completed their service and are accepted into one of SIT’s master’s degree programs are eligible for a competitively awarded $5,000 scholarship. SIT offers master’s degree programs in both online and on-campus formats. Both full-time students just entering the field and working professionals can find a program ideally suited to their career goals.

Applications being accepted for Summer and Fall 2017.  Learn more at graduate.sit.edu.

4 Ways You Can Help Save AmeriCorps Funding

March 17, 2017

4wayssave-blog3As reported by many news outlets, yesterday, the Trump administration released its “America First Budget – a blueprint for 2018 federal spending”.

 

The budget proposes funding reductions for numerous government agencies while funding for 19 agencies will be completely eliminated – including the Corporation for National and Community Service.

 

As AmeriCorps alumni, we all have personal stories on how our service has impacted our lives, our career and our community. On the heels of AmeriCorps Week, we also know that AmeriCorps has proven financial and community impact and is necessary this year and beyond.

 

There are many steps in the political process between the President’s proposal and actual law for fiscal year 2018 – but we do know that the best way to ensure continued bipartisan support is to raise our voices in support of national service and against the proposed cuts.

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Here are 4 ways you can help save AmeriCorps funding:

  1. Contact Your Members of Congress – Using easy tools from Voices for National Service, you can email, call, or write a letter to your representatives. This is especially important if your congressional representatives are on the appropriations committee. Click here to view House and Senate committee members.
  2. Share Your AmeriCorps Story – Share your AmeriCorps experience with your personal and social networks. This shows the importance of AmeriCorps to non-alums and encourages fellow alums who may not be connected with us directly to take action. Alums like Adwoa or on our Twitter feed have shared recently.
  3. Publish an Organizational Statement – If you work for a nonprofit or company that supports national service or AmeriCorps members, consider publishing an organizational statement in support of AmeriCorps. Points of Light, Service Year and Voices for National Service have all published statements that can be used for reference.
  4. Reach Out to Your Local Paper – Write a letter to your local paper that talks about how service has impacted you and/or your local community. Specifically talk about why your legislature should continue to support AmeriCorps. The Voices for National Service toolkit has a template to guide you.

 

Click here to view the full action toolkit from Voices of National Service.

 

Faced with adversity, we will persevere. AmeriCorps Alums stands in full support of AmeriCorps and we invite every alumni to use your voice to support your legacy of service and opportunities for others to serve.

 

In Service,

AmeriCorps Alums

 

AmeriCorps Works: How Grant Writing Became the Foundation for a Career

March 10, 2017

In celebration of AmeriCorps Week 2017, AmeriCorps Alums is highlighting how serving in AmeriCorps impacts alums and organizations this year and beyond. Today’s blog post is about Adwoa Asare, a two-time AmeriCorps alumna who now works for Habitat for Humanity.

Adwoa, tell us about your service experience.

I served in Winston-Salem, NC from 2009-2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA for One Economy Corporation (OE) working on digital literacy and digital inclusion. The program was called “Digital Connectors” and it was a program for youth digital literacy. My favorite component of the program was that it encouraged youth to train older adults in their community on how to use computers and the internet. It was at OE that I cut my teeth into community organizing.

Adwoa2-houselumber

I also served in Chapel Hill, NC, from 2010-2011 for AmeriCorps State/National at Johnson Service Corps (JSC), formerly known as Johnson Intern Program, working on social justice and vocational discernment. JSC is under the umbrella of Episcopal Service Corps, which is under the umbrella of Catholic Network of Volunteer Services. In JSC, eight of us lived in shared intentional community (meaning: one house, shared rooms, shared food budget, shared chores, weekly spiritual formation, and more) and worked at different social justice organizations. My placement was at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. I was the liaison for what would eventually become a nationally recognized student-led initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill to build 10 homes for 10 employees of the university and hospital. My first day on the job, my supervisor picked me up and I joined in on a marketing photo shoot (I’m in the background carrying a box) and then went to the Chancellor’s office to discuss the project. That’s what I call hitting the ground running.

Why did you decide to join AmeriCorps?

I attended Wake Forest University where most of my peers were on the business management track, law track, or doctoral track. I felt called to do something different and pursue what I would describe as the road less traveled. I was attending a career fair my senior year and noticed that among the long list of businesses, there was also a technology nonprofit on the list of vendors. I talked to the representatives and realized that many of my experiences in leadership, technology, service, and international travel made me a strong candidate for working at their company. It was the first time I learned about AmeriCorps aka the “domestic Peace Corps”.

What do you do now?

Adwoa1-householdingI stayed on full time with Habitat after my [second] AmeriCorps year. I am currently the Associate Director of Community Development and Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. My role includes program management for our repair programs, grant writing, and community outreach. The best thing about my current role is the direct interfacing I do with community residents. Being a part of seeing their dreams for their home come to fruition is one of the greatest things. They send me thank you notes that I have posted up all around my office.

How did serving in AmeriCorps impact you?

AmeriCorps gave me my current job! Many of my friends are people who have served and many of my coworkers were former AmeriCorps members. I appreciated a year of loan forbearance to try my hand in the nonprofit sector and discover that I love being able to serve people and match them to programs and opportunities that will help them sustain themselves.

What leadership or career skills did you gain from your service?

Right out of the gate I was invited to participate in grant writing at One Economy. I remember I was so nervous about writing the narrative, thinking,

“Do I know enough to even do this? I can’t believe they trust me with this!”

We were awarded the full $25,000 that we requested and I remember being so happy. I think I still include that grant writing success on my resume today. Now I write grants totaling over $150,000 annually.

My second term with JSC included a five month course on servant-leadership. Having formal training helped me hone my budding leadership skills to include both those who are high ranking executives and those who are often on the fringe of society. It also gave me extensive tools for conflict resolution and meeting facilitation.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about AmeriCorps or who is in their first term of service?

If you are thinking about AmeriCorps you should do it! In my VISTA year, half of my cohort were recent college graduates but the other half were looking to make a career change and used their AmeriCorps year to transition into the nonprofit sector. Be sure you understand the specifics of your program so that you can commit to the entire year. The key is to finish your year, learn as much as you can from the experience, and connect with as many full time staff and community members as possible. Those connections will either secure a position for you at your current placement or put you in the position to gain employment from your new network that you built while serving.adwoa3-treefriends

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