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AmeriCorps: Catalyst to Achievement in Social Justice- One Alums Story

August 14, 2013

Today’s guest post comes from Andriana Bicanin, a three-time AmeriCorps alum and current student in the Masters in Social Justice and Human Rights Program at Prescott College

2013.07.Bicanin.AndrianaI first served with AmeriCorps VISTA in January 2008, unsure of which direction my undergraduate studies and interests were taking me. I served with the Washington Reading Corps / Community Youth Services, in western Washington (state). This year of service completely changed my life, introducing me to a life of service through nonprofits that directly support at-need communities. I then served for two more years, one year as a VISTA in North Carolina, with the New Century IDA through the IDA and Asset Building Collaborative, and then as a State member with Generations Incorporated in Boston. I chose to attend graduate school at Prescott College in Prescott Arizona, and am currently studying for a Masters Degree in Social Justice and Human Rights.

I am in social justice because of my service work through AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps provides opportunities to go into communities and learn skills you never thought you had, and develop new aptitudes and knowledge and love for other people, communities, and self. Those of us who served through AmeriCorps are given an amazing outlet for creative energy that is spent on working for and with others – our strengths are magnified, weaknesses (areas of improvement!) brought out so that we may use them to become leaders, and skills utilized and gained.

2013.08.14. Blog Post Andriana

Andriana in Agua Prieta, Sonora Mexico, during a trip with Prescott College to a community run garden along the U.S./Mexico border

Prescott College’s graduate program in Social Justice and Human Rights is the perfect ending to my three years of service, and is preparing me for a life of working in social justice. During my first year of graduate studies I traveled throughout Arizona, the greater Los Angeles area, and into Mexico, to learn from communities and people directly affected by racist, classist policies. I spent the summer interning with two grassroots organizations in Los Angeles, working alongside and for the homeless, impoverished, and those directly affected by aforementioned policies. My entire life changed because of this program of study, and working with these communities. AmeriCorps is instrumental to my ability to adapt to different communities, cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles, creating my success in graduate school.

I live a life of service and work in social justice because of my life, and because of what I learned in AmeriCorps. I am currently in the process of founding a Youth Center in a very rural, impoverished area of southern Illinois, and applying to law schools in the fall so I can pursue public interest law with an emphasis in housing. Those who choose to serve with AmeriCorps, and take full advantage of the programs, teachings, opportunities for skill and education advancement, can be leaders in social justice work from nonprofits to grassroots organizing to academia. Lives are transformed by open hearts, minds, and a penchant for helping other people, all of which AmeriCorps brings out and nourishes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2013 4:45 pm

    Reblogged this on A Dreamers Discourse and commented:
    Article I wrote for AmeriCorps Alums.

  2. March 27, 2014 1:33 am


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