Respecting the A
Today’s guest post comes from our AmeriCorps Alums: Boston Chapter Co-Chair Moira Mannix.
Ten years have passed, but the energy and enthusiasm of over 1,000 people taking the AmeriCorps pledge was even more palpable than the day I sat in the Reggie Lewis Center reciting the words.
On Friday, November 9, a day of celebration of national service in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to see current Corps members take the AmeriCorps pledge at the Massachusetts Service Alliance’s Opening Day. Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps, welcomed members and led the pledge after he highlighted the upcoming 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps and our rapid approach to the 1 millionth member to join AmeriCorps. Bill also encouraged the audience to “Wear the A, respect the A and share the A,” referring of course, to the ubiquitous AmeriCorps logo. Bill was followed by fellow alums, Katie Theriault and Christine Riley, who shared their inspiring service stories.
This year, instead of sitting with my with my fellow Massachusetts Campus Compact *VISTAs, I was with my fellow AmeriCorps Alums Chapter Co-Chair, Sean McDevitt, wrapping up the corps shout out line by challenging members to, “Join us in carrying on the commitment to serve beyond this year.”
Carrying this theme into the evening, Bill greeted and thanked more than 70 alums for their ongoing commitment to transforming communities at an AmeriCorps Alums social. The gathering included alums from Connecticut and New Hampshire, making it our first regional event. Attendees included Alums currently working with the Mass. Service Alliance, Jumpstart, City Year, Cradles to Crayons, Boston Teacher Residency Program, BostonCares, Generations, Inc., Year UP, Youth Build and more.
Bill pointed out that national service is something that stays with you for life, as he and his career exemplify. AmeriCorps Alum and former Boston Board Co-Chair, Hilary Sullivan, Associate Director of Service and Community Partnerships at Northeastern University shared,
“I’m impressed with Bill’s willingness to come out and hear from Alums about what they are doing and how their service impacted their career paths. It shows a true commitment from AmeriCorps as an organization to support individuals in carrying the commitment to serve beyond their service year. Bill was great in re-energizing the Boston Alums community to keep connecting and keep serving.”
Bill shared with us his ambition to grow AmeriCorps and highlighted how we as alums can support current members as well as respond to disasters, encouraging us to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. VISTA Alum, and current National AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader at Campus Compact, Alexandra Motter, said of the evening,
“It was exciting to learn about the new alumni engagement initiatives coming from CNCS [Corporation for National and Community Service] and AC [AmeriCorps] Alums Boston. Bill Basl spoke of the overwhelming response from AC alums to help with relief after Sandy and reminded us to “respect the A,” to wear it proudly, and carry it with us always. It really set the tone for the rest of the evening of networking and meeting new friends.”
After having the opportunity to hear Bill speak at the White House Champions of Change event in August, I was thrilled to have the chance for our chapter members to engage with him in a small setting. The Opening Day Social was a perfect end to an inspiring day that began with reflecting upon all of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead this year for current members, and recognizing how valuable the work they are doing is not only for communities but also as an important experience that will launch or enhance their careers when they become alums. The Boston Chapter thanks Bill for his leadership and for inspiring the service community in Massachusetts!