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Honoring AmeriCorps Alumni and Veterans

November 10, 2015

Did you know one of the six priorities of AmeriCorps is increasing the engagement of veterans and service to veterans and military families? There are more than 23,000 veterans who have served in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, and Vet Corps members have served 780,000 veteran & military families.

For Veterans Day, we hope you take a minute to thank a veteran and read a few stories from veterans who chose to serve again in AmeriCorps and from the AmeriCorps members and alums who support them.

Lange_Rebecca_5x7_Head&ShouldersService before Self, Reflections on Military and Civilian Service, by Major Rebecca “BB” Lange

“Sometimes, you need a push. Or a shove. At 17, my parents told me I was on my own to pay for college. Partly because of the expense, partly because they believed I would appreciate a college education more if I earned it. With President Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union Address, I found a way. When I heard the words, ‘…there are 20,000 Americans… helping people, solving problems and, in the process, earning some money for their education. This is citizenship at its best,’ I was sold. I took a leap of faith and signed up for the still-nascent AmeriCorps. I joined other young, idealistic, and eager 18-24 year olds in AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC) […] After AmeriCorps, I used my AmeriCorps education award to pay my first tuition bill at the University of Colorado. AmeriCorps was also my launching pad to military service. As a student, I became an Air Force ROTC cadet.” Read more …

veterans day blake lovelaceBlake Lovelace Honored with First Veterans Service AmeriCorps Pin from AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl

This past month, AmeriCorps VISTA Blake Lovelace, who serves at George Washington University’s Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service received the first “AmeriCorps Serving Veterans” pin. Blake helped lead a Veterans Day of Service that engaged more than 80 student veteran volunteers at eight sites in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. Blake shared, “Being a traditional civilian and being able to give back to my community as well as serve veterans who have served our country means a great deal to me. It’s a great honor, and I’m very appreciative of the award.” Watch Blake share his experience here.

Veteran: A Word That Means a Lot & More Than You Think, by Kevin C. Miller

“Transitioning from the Marine Corps in 2006 to the civilian world was far from easy. Even after earning a college degree, I struggled to find meaningful employment, endured a form of homelessness politely known as “couch-surfing,” self-medicated with alcohol and eventually got a DUI. None of this helped my job prospects. Eight years later, I’ve turned it around. AmeriCorps VISTA and a nonprofit called Swords to Plowshares gave me an opportunity and a home. Today, because I was given the opportunity to serve post military, I’m actively involved in the mission to end veteran homelessness.” Read more …

headshotStudent Veterans of America: Supporting Yesterday’s Warriors, Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders, by Tyler Wright

“AmeriCorps VISTA and Student Veterans of America (SVA) made it possible for me to pursue my dream, albeit grandiose, of ensuring that every single veteran coming behind me would be taken care of on-campus and guided in the right direction. I would be the guy that could navigate them through the G.I. Bill, CLEP exams, graduate admissions, apprenticeships, service school credit transfers… you name it. Now I was backed by the premier organization focusing on veterans and higher education! Not only did I work one-on-one with veterans and their families, but I also built capacity within the ever-expanding network of SVA Chapters established on over one-thousand campuses across the nation. They brought me veterans and gave me the tools to change lives … possibly even saving a few in the process.” Read more …

Birte during a training exercise with the Army in 2003Volunteering with Veterans, Military Service Members, and Their Families, by Birte Keays

“Having served myself and being married to a US Navy veteran, I have experienced the tough transition process from the military life to a civilian career, and even though we seem to have made it, I can relate to others who are having a hard time adjusting to the change. When you leave the military, it is not like just changing your career but changing your whole life. You come from a system that completely took care of you, starting with giving you strict guidelines about your work schedule and location, to setting expectations regarding your physical fitness, while providing you with healthcare. You are part of a unit, you go to places that others will never (want to) go to, and you have buddies you would die for, and they for you. And then it all stops.” Read more …

Want to learn more about the impact of AmeriCorps’ Vet Corps members? Learn more here and share your story with us!

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