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Member Spotlight: From AmeriCorps to Executive Director and Advocate for Affordable Education

February 13, 2014

2014.02.13. Shayla PriceToday’s blog is written by AmeriCorps VISTA alum Shayla Price and is part of AmeriCorps Alums’ REALTalk series on race, equity, and AmeriCorps alumni as leaders.

For many of us who have served in AmeriCorps, the service experience catapults us to career opportunities that are directly connected with our service in AmeriCorps. The same is true for Shayla Price, an AmeriCorps VISTA alum who served in 2012 with Harvesters in Kansas City, Missouri.

The AmeriCorps experience gave me courage to be on the frontlines of issues affecting my community. I learned how to not hesitate when challenges arise. That’s definitely why I accepted my current Executive Director position. I chose not to be on the sidelines anymore. AmeriCorps was a great experience for me that helped open this door!

Shayla is currently the Executive Director of the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA), a nonprofit whose mission is to provide education, certifications and a voice in the future of search and rescue canines.  The organization supports the efforts of all search and rescue personnel by enhancing their knowledge and capabilities in the field of search and rescue canines. One of the key skills learned in AmeriCorps that Shayla uses today is collaboration. She reveals, “Effective collaboration is one of the key skills I learned in AmeriCorps that I use today. During my summer of service, I worked with others at a mobile food pantry to distribute fresh veggies and fruits to families. Now, I partner with individuals to ensure canine search and rescue teams are equipped with the proper training to bring the missing and endangered back to their families. Through these experiences, I learned the value of national service.”

In addition to her work with NSDA, Shayla has a passion for affordable education.  She became the first person in her family to graduate college and knows personally how the cost of college can become a barrier to entry for many seeking a college degree. In a recent interview with AMERICORPS ALUMS, Shayla shared, I know firsthand the financial challenges with earning a college degree. Through an online course and offline workshops, I teach students, parents, and guidance counselors how to write essays, ask for recommendations, and make their scholarship applications better. AmeriCorps has fueled my desire to continue empowering youth and advocating for college affordability.” True to the AmeriCorps spirit of “getting things done,” she has assisted over 5,000 high school students apply for college scholarships.  Affectionately known as the “scholarship queen,” Shayla earned over $100,000 in scholarship money to help fund her own college expenses.  With her experience in this arena, Shayla is tackling the problem of affordable education by working with high school students to create solution oriented options that provide them a pathway to an affordable college experience.

As AMERICORPS ALUMS continues the celebration of the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, we’ll be looking for more inspiring stories of how Alums’ careers have been shaped by your term(s) of service.  If you are interested in sharing your story with us, please consider penning a guest post for our blog.

Shayla Price can be contacted on Twitter @shaylaprice or on her website

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