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A Star is Born: AmeriCorps in Hollywood!

March 26, 2015

What was the best release out of Hollywood this week? We’ll give you two clues. It involves AmeriCorps and ninjas.

AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Director Mary Bruce was in Hollywood on Monday for the ground-breaking Serve A Year campaign launch with ServiceNation, Jimmy Kimmel, and Chelsea Clinton. A long-term effort to inspire millions of young Americans to serve a year in programs like AmeriCorps, Serve a Year aims to make a service year after high school or college the expectation, not the exception.

National Ninja Warrior Squad YouTube snip

Click here to watch Chelsea Clinton and Jimmy Kimmel talk about the campaign. Our favorite part is Jimmy Kimmel’s alternate name for programs like AmeriCorps: National Ninja Warrior Squad. Our second favorite part? Everything before and after.

And it wasn’t only celebrities talking about service. Current members and alums took the stage as well and our LA AmeriCorps Alums chapter was in the the audience too. Two of the most inspiring moments came from AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award winners Dr. Dayna Long and Kevin C. Miller. If you could not attend the event, check out their amazing speeches below. 

Alum group photo from Kevin with Mary and LA Ch

AmeriCorps Alums LA Chapter Leader Greg Ericksen (second from right) with Dayna Long (3rd from left), Kevin C. Miller (3rd from right), Mary Bruce (far-right), and other Los Angeles AmeriCorps alumni.

Dr. Dayna Long’s Speech

Dr. Dayna Long with Brandon Routh, national service champion and actor currently starring on Arrow.

Dr. Dayna Long with Brandon Routh, national service champion and actor currently starring on Arrow.

Hello, my name is Dr. Dayna Long. I served as an AmeriCorps member 20 years ago at the LA Free Clinic. I am a proud AmeriCorps alum, and now a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, CA.

As an AmeriCorps member serving here in Los Angeles, I felt honored to work with homeless and high-risk youth because I realized that I gained as much, if not more, than I gave. My experience as an AmeriCorp member profoundly changed me. I saw first-hand that where a child eats, sleeps, plays and goes to school, profoundly impacts health and can lead to poor health outcomes and chronic diseases. I embraced these lessons and carried them with me to medical school and beyond.

As a doctor, my work is an extension of my AmeriCorps experience. AmeriCorps catalyzed my life’s mission to change the practice of medicine to address people’s unmet social and environmental needs, such as the need for healthy food, safe housing and physical activity. As a result of my year of service, I learned valuable skills, I persevered and I realized my career path.

National Health Corps member Samantha Tyler, a future med student meets Dr. Dayna Long.   Photo Credit: National Health Corps Facebook page

National Health Corps member Samantha Tyler meets Dr. Long. Photo Credit: National Health Corps Facebook page

The power of national service resides in its ability to enable AmeriCorps members to learn about themselves while working toward solving some of our nation’s most critical issues.

I am proud to continue serving my country – first in AmeriCorps and now as a doctor. I look forward to the day when a person’s zip code no longer negatively affects their genetic code.

Kevin C. Miller’s Speech

Hello, my name is Kevin C. Miller, I am a proud AmeriCorps Alum – I completed my service year in 2013 – and I am a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Kevin C. Miller and Dr. Dayna Long

Kevin C. Miller and Dr. Dayna Long

As a Marine, I was deployed to Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti, Africa, where I sustained multiple traumatic brain injuries and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving military service These factors made my transition from military to civilian life difficult –I ended up self-medicating my combat injuries with alcohol and eventually found myself with multiple DUIs and unemployed.

That all changed when a fellow veteran pointed me to AmeriCorps through an organization called Swords to Plowshares – an organization founded by five veterans and AmeriCorps members – and the organization where I continue to work on behalf of my fellow veterans.

Kevin with a currently serving AmeriCorps VISTA during the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps celebration

Kevin with an AmeriCorps VISTA member during AmeriCorps’ 20th anniversary in September.

Service is not just a calling. It is literally the story of my life and – in many ways, it has saved my life. Every day I fight for veterans. I connect them with resources in education, employment, healthcare and legal services; and I do my best to inspire them to heed the call of national service – even though they no longer wear a military uniform.

I am proud to have served my country and my community first as Marine, then as an AmeriCorps member and now as veteran advocate and AmeriCorps alum. I look forward to the day that more veterans are given the opportunity to continue serving as they transition to civilian life.

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