Connecticut Chapter Establishes Record of Uniting AmeriCorps Community
When the government shutdown this past October caused a living stipend delay for AmeriCorps VISTA members, some members were literally unsure where their next meal would come from. Enter the Connecticut (CT) Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums. The chapter quickly mobilized by organizing and sponsoring an emergency pizza party for VISTA members impacted by the stipend delay. Hosted at a local restaurant in New Haven, over a dozen VISTA members and alumni gathered to not only share a hot meal, but also to connect with one-another during a time which challenged many of the members’ commitments to service. The event led to increased goodwill and awareness of the chapter within the VISTA community, as well as the CNCS Connecticut State Program Director.
Building on the government shutdown effort, the CT chapter wanted to do more to connect AmeriCorps programs and members across the state. Noticing that there was no database of contacts for all of the AmeriCorps programs in CT, the chapter decided to do something about it! True to the philosophy of “getting things done” they compiled this information by contacting the offices of the CT Commission on Community Service (the organization that hosts all State Programs), the CNCS CT Office (which hosts all CT VISTA programs), and individual AmeriCorps*National and National VISTA programs that have a presence in the state. The goal of this project was to get an accurate count of total AmeriCorps members serving in the state and to build new connections among AmeriCorps programs by hosting all of this information in one easy-to-use place. This information is now available online, but more importantly it has been instrumental in helping to plan service events and other opportunities across the AmeriCorps network throughout the state!
Finally, the chapter brought together the CT community as part of September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance. They hosted America’s military veterans at “Dinner at Homes for the Brave.” The event served over 20 Veterans who receive services at Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport, CT. By raising cash and in-kind food donations, the chapter was able to prepare a hearty meal for the community’s Veterans. The event was a fantastic chance to serve, honor, and connect with local Veterans and local businesses, and serves as another example of how the Connecticut Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums brings together the national service community in their state.