Sacramento Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums Helping To Drive AmeriCorps Recruitment
Today’s guest post comes from Rachel Marine, co-chair of the Sacramento Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, and AmeriCorps*VISTA Alum- 2009 – 2011
The Sacramento AmeriCorps Alums chapter planned and hosted a successful AmeriCorps Recruitment and Outreach Initiative. The purpose of the Alums Outreach and Recruitment initiative was to train current members and alums to conduct AmeriCorps outreach and recruitment that targets under-resourced high school youth and college students whose extracurricular activities and/or areas of study are linked to service.
Three main objectives comprised the project: 1) Plan and conduct outreach training for AmeriCorps local members and alums; 2) coordinate outreach opportunities at local schools; and 3) collect feedback to evaluate the project.
Goals for the training included that a) participants would learn to speak about all three AmeriCorps streams of service including the requirements, focus areas, and benefits of each; and b) participants would practice sharing their own AmeriCorps story in a concise and compelling way.
The Training was designed to be participatory, in that attendees learned from one another in group discussions and breakout sessions that drew upon the knowledge of the participants. To guide this process, facilitators used worksheets that participants filled out collaboratively based on group discussion. An additional worksheet helped participants plan out their AmeriCorps outreach talking points.
Because it would be impossible to reach the entire target population, project leaders developed an outreach strategy. High school service clubs were targeted because of the relative ease of coordinating speaking engagements after school hours. Within the local colleges, classes and student organizations were targeted within social work, child development, and related majors.
Seven current members and alums attended the outreach training. Six of the participants gave outreach and recruitment presentations at local schools where approximately 40 students signed up to receive more information about AmeriCorps opportunities and received additional information via email.
Results from participant evaluations and observations of outreach engagements indicated that participants were able to successfully convey their own AmeriCorps experiences and how they benefited from serving, yet encountered some difficulty speaking about all three AmeriCorps programs and answering questions. In the future, we hope to expand the training to allocate more time to discussing the three branches of AmeriCorps and practicing outreach presentations. We also hope to expand our list of local contacts and sites to conduct outreach and recruitment. We’d like to continue the training so that every local alum has the knowledge and confidence to serve as an ambassador for AmeriCorps.