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Democracy and Politics Aren’t Spectator Sports

March 30, 2012

Today’s guest post comes from Jordan Jones,  an AmeriCorps Alum who served two terms as a construction assistant with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity. A native of Des Moines, he served as a 2011 – 2012 ServeNext Organizer in Iowa. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and remains active in the service community.

For the past year, it has been my privilege to work as the ServeNext Organizer for Des Moines, Iowa.   As my term draws to a close, I thought I should take the time to reflect on what my experience with ServeNext and service advocacy has meant to me as an AmeriCorps alum.

To put it simply, it was quite a time.  From my up-close perspective I was able to witness the power of grassroots advocacy to shape public policy and to advance the cause of national service in America.  It certainly wasn’t always easy, but it was always interesting.  And I can say without a doubt that I am a better citizen because of it; I will be using the skills gained during this past year for the rest of my life.

I was first drawn to ServeNext by my interest in both national service and politics.  Before I became a ServeNext Organizer, I served as an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity and had worked on a Congressional campaign.  To me, ServeNext represented an intersection between those two areas; it was an opportunity to deepen my understanding of the political process and to safeguard the service programs I held so dear.  In short, it was a perfect fit.

I made lots of great memories along the way.  I’ll never forget the powerful testimony of the half-dozen Foster Grandparents I brought to a Congressman’s office that I know had an impact on his view of service. And without fail, I will smile when I recall the strange thrill of speaking to Presidential candidates and seeing my words make national news.

Jones with GOP Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, asking him the tough questions about National Service.

My experience with ServeNext made me realize that I can have an impact on the world, that myself and my network members—if we worked together and if we worked hard enough—can make our voices heard.  Democracy and politics aren’t spectator sports, I found out.  We are all playing and the stakes for national service are higher than ever.

For this reason I plan to stay an active and engaged AmeriCorps Alum. I am going to carry all the skills and experiences I learned first as an AmeriCorps member and then as a ServeNext Organizer with me for the rest of my life.

ServeNext is currently recruiting for its next team of Organizers. The position is 6 months and full time (the first time in history that national service will have full time organizers).

I encourage anyone passionate about advocating for national service to apply at www.servenext.org/2012. The deadline is April 6, 2012.

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