Mothers Modeling Civil Service
Mother’s Day honors a mother’s role in guiding her children’s development. To commemorate the holiday, we asked Emily Burkhardt, daughter of Councilwoman Molly Markert, how her mother influenced her decision to serve in AmeriCorps.
Emily shares how her mother connected her “to a variety of experiences and a range of communities” throughout her life. As an elementary student, Emily recalls her mother’s role in establishing a temporary shelter for families in need of emergency housing. Emily remembers her Mom encouraging her to think about what it means to not have a home. This discussion led Emily and her friends to sponsor a toy drive for the shelter that successfully filled a room with toys for the children that would stay there.
In addition to Councilwoman Markert’s support of the shelter, Emily says her mother’s steadfast “dedication to the underserved” inspired her AmeriCorps service. For two years, Emily served with New York City Service, an AmeriCorps Program that places Corps members at nonprofits where they can support local volunteers by increasing their capacity to impact community development. During her second year of service, Hurricane Sandy struck and Emily helped support relief efforts.
Currently, Emily works at New York Cares as a Disaster Response Program Manager. Emily organizes projects for areas affected by disasters. The program supports a range of community needs including children’s education, park revitalization, and meal services. She also recruits, trains, and manages volunteers and has tripled the organization’s volunteer base. One way she bolstered the volunteer network was by mentoring freshmen from Wagner College’s Bonner Leader Program. Emily led Wagner volunteers in rebuilding a house as part of continued Hurricane Sandy revitalization.
As summer approaches, Emily will transition from New York Cares into Teach for America training. Emily will teach middle school science at Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College in Northeast Denver this fall.
As we reflect on mothers after Mother’s Day, Emily’s story showcases the influential role a mother can play in inspiring a commitment to community engagement. We would love to hear from more AmeriCorps Alums who may also have followed a mother’s footsteps into community impact careers.