Skip to content

Why I Am Inspired By My AmeriFamily

July 12, 2013

Today’s post comes from Lisa Shipley (AmeriCorps ’09, ’10), President of the Indianapolis Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums

Chapter-Logo-Full-IndianapolisHigh energy, great healthy food (prepared by a YouthBuild Alum), and inspirational stories, YouthBuild USA Regional Conference, in Indianapolis, was the place to be on Friday, June 7, 2013. It was an all-day event that covered a variety of topics to help current members, and alums, to get thinking about “The Life After”.  When I was contacted to conduct a Life After AmeriCorps training on behalf of the Indianapolis Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums I hadn’t known much about YouthBuild, but by the end of the day I walked away humbled, full of love and inspired by everyone’s stories.

YouthBuild Alums introducing themselves and getting the group pumped for the day’s events.

YouthBuild Alums introducing themselves and getting current Youthbuild Ameriorps members pumped for the day’s events.

For those that don’t know, YouthBuild USA is an AmeriCorps (AC) State/National program that supports youth in getting hands on experience, training and educational assistance. YouthBuild is also global!  There are currently 61 YouthBuild Int’l programs sites operating in 13 countries with sites in planning states in an additional 10 countries. Regardless of where, the mission is still the same “to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of young people to rebuild their communities and their lives.” Without a doubt, the positive energy was present at the conference and their love of family could be felt, just by walking into the room.

Powerful stories were a theme throughout the day. Last year at this time, some YouthBuild AmeriCorps members were working the streets, while others were incarcerated or lived with family members involved in drugs. At this point last year, some members had NO HOPE. But now, since being introduced to YouthBuild, their lives have changed for the better. Though they still have struggles, they persevere knowing that they have the potential to excel positively. One student shared that she is going to retake her GED for a third time and is determined to pass. Another student shared that it wasn’t until YouthBuild that he had a role model who truly believed in him; though it took time, he now believes in himself and wants to be a chef.

Jamiel Alexander, YouthBuild USA National Alumni Council President, and Lisa Shipley, President of the Indianapolis Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums

Jamiel Alexander, YouthBuild USA National Alumni Council President, and Lisa Shipley, President of the Indianapolis Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums

I say time and time again how thankful I am for my AmeriFamily, and daily I am reminded how expansive it REALLY TRULY IS. Knowing more about YouthBuild and how much love they have for one another and their program, I’m all the more blessed to be a part of such a great family. Just as the members and alums of YouthBuild turn to one another for support and encouragement, so does the rest of our AmeriFamily. Whether it’s sharing resources and contacts, giving kudos for accomplishments, or extending thoughts, prayers & positive thoughts – we are and always will be there for one another. As we welcome the newest group of ‘AmeriCorps graduates’ into the AmeriCorps Alums network, and seek to continue to build bridges across the  AmeriCorps network, it’s up to each of us to take an active part in spreading the word about AmeriCorps Alums. Jamiel Alexander, YouthBuild USA National Alumni Council President, said it best, “you’ve got to be the change!”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniel Johnson permalink
    July 12, 2013 9:13 pm

    This shows the positive effects that the YouthBuild USA and AmeriCorps programs both have on the youth. The stories often told by YouthBuild students display that change begins from within ourselves and with the opportunity to access resources that are available we can overcome complex challenges while building a sense of community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: