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AmeriCorps Works: How Grant Writing Became the Foundation for a Career

March 10, 2017

In celebration of AmeriCorps Week 2017, AmeriCorps Alums is highlighting how serving in AmeriCorps impacts alums and organizations this year and beyond. Today’s blog post is about Adwoa Asare, a two-time AmeriCorps alumna who now works for Habitat for Humanity.

Adwoa, tell us about your service experience.

I served in Winston-Salem, NC from 2009-2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA for One Economy Corporation (OE) working on digital literacy and digital inclusion. The program was called “Digital Connectors” and it was a program for youth digital literacy. My favorite component of the program was that it encouraged youth to train older adults in their community on how to use computers and the internet. It was at OE that I cut my teeth into community organizing.


I also served in Chapel Hill, NC, from 2010-2011 for AmeriCorps State/National at Johnson Service Corps (JSC), formerly known as Johnson Intern Program, working on social justice and vocational discernment. JSC is under the umbrella of Episcopal Service Corps, which is under the umbrella of Catholic Network of Volunteer Services. In JSC, eight of us lived in shared intentional community (meaning: one house, shared rooms, shared food budget, shared chores, weekly spiritual formation, and more) and worked at different social justice organizations. My placement was at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. I was the liaison for what would eventually become a nationally recognized student-led initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill to build 10 homes for 10 employees of the university and hospital. My first day on the job, my supervisor picked me up and I joined in on a marketing photo shoot (I’m in the background carrying a box) and then went to the Chancellor’s office to discuss the project. That’s what I call hitting the ground running.

Why did you decide to join AmeriCorps?

I attended Wake Forest University where most of my peers were on the business management track, law track, or doctoral track. I felt called to do something different and pursue what I would describe as the road less traveled. I was attending a career fair my senior year and noticed that among the long list of businesses, there was also a technology nonprofit on the list of vendors. I talked to the representatives and realized that many of my experiences in leadership, technology, service, and international travel made me a strong candidate for working at their company. It was the first time I learned about AmeriCorps aka the “domestic Peace Corps”.

What do you do now?

Adwoa1-householdingI stayed on full time with Habitat after my [second] AmeriCorps year. I am currently the Associate Director of Community Development and Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. My role includes program management for our repair programs, grant writing, and community outreach. The best thing about my current role is the direct interfacing I do with community residents. Being a part of seeing their dreams for their home come to fruition is one of the greatest things. They send me thank you notes that I have posted up all around my office.

How did serving in AmeriCorps impact you?

AmeriCorps gave me my current job! Many of my friends are people who have served and many of my coworkers were former AmeriCorps members. I appreciated a year of loan forbearance to try my hand in the nonprofit sector and discover that I love being able to serve people and match them to programs and opportunities that will help them sustain themselves.

What leadership or career skills did you gain from your service?

Right out of the gate I was invited to participate in grant writing at One Economy. I remember I was so nervous about writing the narrative, thinking,

“Do I know enough to even do this? I can’t believe they trust me with this!”

We were awarded the full $25,000 that we requested and I remember being so happy. I think I still include that grant writing success on my resume today. Now I write grants totaling over $150,000 annually.

My second term with JSC included a five month course on servant-leadership. Having formal training helped me hone my budding leadership skills to include both those who are high ranking executives and those who are often on the fringe of society. It also gave me extensive tools for conflict resolution and meeting facilitation.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about AmeriCorps or who is in their first term of service?

If you are thinking about AmeriCorps you should do it! In my VISTA year, half of my cohort were recent college graduates but the other half were looking to make a career change and used their AmeriCorps year to transition into the nonprofit sector. Be sure you understand the specifics of your program so that you can commit to the entire year. The key is to finish your year, learn as much as you can from the experience, and connect with as many full time staff and community members as possible. Those connections will either secure a position for you at your current placement or put you in the position to gain employment from your new network that you built while serving.adwoa3-treefriends

Turn Your AmeriCorps Service into a Career as an Expert Urban Teacher

February 23, 2017

Today’s sponsored blog is written by Urban Teachers. Through Urban Teachers, participants receive a $20,000 stipend during the first year, earn a Master of Science in Education degree from Johns Hopkins University, can earn up to two Segal Education Awards and receive a full teacher’s salary and benefits. Join the webinar on Monday, 3/20 at 9PM eastern to hear from current participants who are City Year, AmeriCorps alums.



Tierra Woods served in City Year New York City before launching her teaching career in Baltimore with Urban Teachers’ teacher preparation program. Tierra compares the Urban Teachers program to medical school. Woods says,

“You’re in the classroom kind of like you’re a surgeon; you’re in the ER.”



Tierra Woods, City Year NYC alum

She is learning how to be an expert teacher through a year-long residency where she receives over 1,500 hours of practice as a co-teacher before taking on her own classroom. Tierra served as a resident in the same school where she now serves as a first-year, 4th grade math teacher. Her coach, who was born and raised in Baltimore, helps Tierra better understand her students and their families. Woods learned how to be “clear, explicit and always follow through” in order to be effective in the classroom.  Listen to the full WYPR story about Tierra here.



Urban Teachers believes that every child deserves a great teacher, every time.  To improve teacher quality in urban schools, Urban Teachers, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, the 2nd ranked graduate school of education in the country, provides a Master’s of Science of Education.


Participants make a four-year commitment; a residency year, followed by three-years of teaching in a high-need urban public or charter school, three years of one on one coaching, job placement and a cohort of colleagues to go through the process with across an entire city.  By holding participants accountable at every stage of the program, students receive highly qualified, effective teachers who are ready and able to improve student outcomes—just like Tierra in Baltimore.








When you join Urban Teachers, you are starting a journey to become one of the most expert and results-oriented teachers for high-need urban schools. Our participants assume leadership roles early in their careers and join us in making the case for better teacher preparation and educator accountability nationwide. Our teachers are drivers of change in the communities in which they work.


Starting with three sites, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Dallas/Fort Worth, Urban Teachers is redesigning teacher preparation to build a highly effective urban teacher workforce.  Since our inception in 2010, Urban Teachers has welcomed nearly 690 residents into our program, serving more than 17,500 students across 144 public schools.  The results of our program are more committed teachers, higher retention and improved student outcomes.



Angel Crockett, City Year LA alum

The efficacy of our teachers is best seen through the individual impact they have on their students. Angel Crockett of Urban Teachers’ DC Cohort 2016, and former City Year Los Angeles Corps member shared, “Throughout the first semester, one student was constantly walking out of class because she was upset.  I would be there to calm her down and bring her back inside. This caused her to frequently miss instruction, be the subject of bullying from other students, and lose confidence in herself. School administration scheduled a functional behavior assessment for her, but the results never came and we were back at square one with trying to find what would work best for her. Other staff around the school, including my host teacher and myself, came together to create a daily behavior tracker that allowed the student to monitor and assess her own behavior at different points in the day and have check-ins with me to ensure that she always has someone to go to when she is feeling upset. Since then, she has been able to remain in class for the majority of the day, begin improving her relationships with other students, and make academic gains. Though there is still room to improve, step one was letting her know that she had someone in the classroom that is always in the corner rooting for her.”



Angel’s unwavering commitment to her student and effectiveness in building a plan to help her is what being an Urban Teacher is all about.


Urban Teachers is now an AmeriCorps Affiliate program which means participants can earn up to two years of additional AmeriCorps service and may be eligible for up to two Segal AmeriCorps awards towards the cost of tuition.  Urban Teachers is also a charter member of Employers of National Service.


To learn more, join a webinar with AmeriCorps Alums who are now teachers at Urban Teachers and to learn about Urban Teachers’ AmeriCorps Affiliate Program, March 20 at 9PM ESTClick here to register.

Make the Call TODAY to Save AmeriCorps

February 22, 2017


Dear Alums,

You probably heard over the weekend that The New York Times reported AmeriCorps may be among a number of high profile federal programs proposed for elimination in the Administration’s next budget.

Alums must raise our voice and support National Service!
CALL Congress TODAY – click here to call Congress & tell them to protect AmeriCorps

The Administration’s budget is a recommendation for Congress, but Senators and Representatives are the ones who ultimately decide what’s funded and what’s cut. We must make sure Congress protects AmeriCorps.

Contact your member of Congress today. Tell them to protect national service funding.

Alums have a first person perspective on AmeriCorps – one that Congress needs to hear.  AmeriCorps service has bi-partisan support amongst voters in cities and towns across the country.

Our stories and voices are needed more than ever – we’ve fought for AmeriCorps before and won, and it’s going to take our full efforts to win again.

In Service,
AmeriCorps Alums

PS – After you call, click here to tweet or post on Facebook to encourage your fellow alums, friends, and family to call too!

PPS – Use this post card template to write your members of Congress a personalized message to their district or DC offices.

Managing Student Loans Webinar

January 27, 2017

Student loans are a strange beast. They don’t really look, feel, or behave like other loans. They’re placed in the hands of consumers with no proven ability to repay them. They can grow to massive size, despite being unsecured by any sort of collateral. They can’t be shaken loose by delinquency, default, or even bankruptcy.

So how can you tame this beast?

Through our partnership with Bank of America we hosted a webinar presented by Money Management International that addressed the most pressing student loan concerns and helped navigate the sometimes muddy waters of managing and repaying your loans.

Do you feel like you have a good plan to pay down your debt? Do you know all your options for repayment and loan forgiveness? The webinar explores options that can work for you—including public service loan forgiveness, income based repayment plans, loan consolidation, and more. Tips you learn in this webinar will help you make decisions based on your own personal goals.

Whether you have private loans or federal loans, it’s important that you understand your options and do the best you can to stay current with your payments. Once you start to fall behind, your options begin drying up, so try to stay ahead of any potential problems and seek help sooner rather than later.

What you will learn

Know what you owe: Do you know where to find your student loan information including the amounts you owe, interest rates, who is servicing your loans, and what type of loans you have? We’ll show you how and where to locate this information!

Know Your Repayment Options: There are so many options and programs for student loan repayment.  How do you know which ones apply to you? How do you choose? How do public service loan forgiveness and teacher loan forgiveness fit in the mix? What about Perkins loans? So many questions! We have answers!

Calculate the Cost: Deferment? Forbearance? What’s the impact? Is it better to pay down your loans aggressively or pay less and put money into savings? What are the trade-offs? It’s enough to give a person a headache! But in this webinar, we’ll give some simple examples that will illustrate the options.

Know how to recover:  Are you one of the many student loan borrowers who has gotten behind on payments? Do you know how to turn your situation around and get it back on track? We’ll tell you how!

Make a Plan: Information overload can bring on analysis paralysis. Get unstuck and make a plan to tackle your student loans and tame them!

Click here to watch the webinar recording or view a PDF of the webinar.


Explore these Cool, Open Jobs!

November 16, 2016


Looking for a new role for the new year? Meet the 33 employers that came to our October Career Fair looking to connect with diverse talent from the Alums network for AmeriCorps leadership roles and/or full-time employment.  Check them out and be sure to tell them you’re an AmeriCorps Alum!



American Red Cross

“With more than 23,000 employees and 330,000 volunteers, the American Red Cross comprises a diverse network of men and women committed to changing the world, one community at a time.”  Now Hiring All Positions – Nationwide



AmeriCorps NCCC & FEMA Corps In AmeriCorps NCCC, dedicated teams of young adults give back to communities across the country while developing their own skills as leaders. They travel the U.S. for 10 months, providing service and relief to communities in need. AmeriCorps NCCC is comprised of two distinct service tracks: traditional AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps.



Blueprint Schools Network (Blueprint) is a nonprofit organization that uses a research-based framework of comprehensive reform strategies to accelerate student achievement in schools across the country.



CCS Fundraising At CCS, we empower some of the greatest organizations in the world to effect meaningful change—change that impacts lives and improves the condition of the world we live in.


College Possible is making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.



Coney Island Prep Everything that we do at Coney Island Prep, every decision that we make, is meant to move our scholars that much closer to succeeding in the college and career of their choice.



Democracy Prep Public Schools is a network of open-enrollment, high-performing, “no excuses” public charter schools operating in New York City, Camden, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The mission of Democracy Prep is to educate responsible citizen-scholars for success in the college of their choice and a life of active citizenship. A simple philosophy guides Democracy Prep staff, scholars and alumni alike: Work Hard. Go to College. Change the World!



Denver Math and Literacy Fellows Our Mission: Close the opportunity gap by providing small group math and literacy instruction for our highest need students

Denver Math and Literacy Fellow, 2017-2018 – Denver, CO



ER Assist provides disaster grant software and services.  Our clients are both governmental entities and contractors that serve governmental entities.  We provide disaster planning software, time and equipment tracking software, and disaster recovery grant software.



Galileo Learning Innovation Camps for Kids. We’re on a mission to develop innovators who envision and create a better world. Join us!


Great Oaks Charter School What sets Great Oaks schools apart from other college preparatory charters is our high-dosage tutoring model; the Great Oaks Tutor Corps is a selective cadre of recent college graduates who deliver at least two hours of individualized instruction to every student every day

Great Oaks Tutor Corps – Urban Education Fellowship – Newark, NJ, New York, New York, Bridgeport, CT and Wilington, DE



Hiawatha Academies Our mission: All Hiawatha Academies scholars will be empowered with the knowledge, character, and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good.



IDEA Public Schools is a growing network of tuition-free Pre-K to 12th grade public schools serving 30,000 students in 51 schools in Austin, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley.


KIPP Austin Public Schools believes that every child, regardless of economic background has the right to an exemplary education. At KIPP Austin, we believe that teachers play a critical role in student academic success. We are seeking passionate, mission-driven, and dedicated educators to join our team & family.


KIPP Bay Area Schools KIPP is a national network of 200 college-preparatory public charter schools with a 20-year track record of preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 11 schools in the Bay Area serving 4,700 students. These innovative, college-prep public schools are located in underserved neighborhoods of Oakland, San Francisco, San Lorenzo, San Jose, and Redwood City. Our newest elementary school will open in East Palo Alto, CA in the Fall of 2017.

Learn more and apply today:


Libertas College Prep The mission of Libertas College Preparatory Charter School is to equip middle school students in grades 4-8 with the academic skills and the strength of character needed to thrive in and graduate from high-performing high schools and competitive colleges.

Libertas College Prep is designed to support middle school students through the transition from elementary school to a high-performing high school, allowing  them to eventually enter the college of their choice. Hiring now for the following positions immediately for 2016-2017 team:

Positions available for 2017-2018 team:


Mercy Home for Boys and Girls Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a Catholic institution, transforms lives of suffering into lives of hope and promise by providing A Nurturing Home, Healing for Families, the Means for Growth and God’s Mercy in Action. Mercy Home offers youth who seek a new beginning hope and promise of a healthy and successful future, safety, respect and opportunities for growth.


The Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide low-income children with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills, leading to greater success in school and increased opportunities in life. The Literacy Lab serves children from age 3 thru grade 3.

Pre-K and K-3 literacy tutor positions are available in the DC, Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA and Kansas City, MO metro areas. Interested candidates should apply via our website. For additional questions, please contact the Recruitment Team (


Meridian Institute is a not-for-profit organization with offices in Colorado and Washington, DC. We also have staff that work in remote offices located throughout the United States and in British Columbia, Canada. At Meridian Institute, we help people solve complex and controversial problems, make informed decisions, and implement solutions that improve lives, the economy, and the environment.


Peace Corps Volunteers improve the lives of people in communities around the world, inform the global perspectives of Americans, and turn a life-defining experience into a lifetime of opportunity.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you work directly with communities on their most pressing issues while gaining a competitive advantage in today’s global economy with international experience, cross-cultural understanding, and fluency in a foreign language. Peace Corps experience can springboard careers in the government, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors. These are a few of the jobs available right now through the Peace Corps:


People’s Prep is dedicated to preparing all its students to get to and through the college of their choice. We understand that for this to happen, we need dedicated teachers and staff members who are committed to closing the achievement gap through hard work. We believe that teachers have one of the most challenging, but also most rewarding jobs ever. Here at People’s Prep, we strive to support our teachers and to help them to continually improve their teaching practice. Currently, People’s Prep has positions open for Teachers and Chief Talent Officer.


Playworks Every day, someone at Playworks makes a meaningful difference in the life of a child. From our hundreds of coaches on the playgrounds of low-income urban schools, to those who work in the office to ensure our coaches can continue to serve, Playworks is dedicated to ensuring that kids get the chance to play. There is no other organization in the world quite like Playworks.

Playworks is committed to building an amazing workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. We honor all who serve with us, and offer a playful working environment based on respect, professionalism, service and fun.


At Reading Partners, we envision a future where all children in the US have the reading skills necessary to reach their full potential. Our mission is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results — and we can’t do this without our stellar AmeriCorps members!

Where we serve: Reading Partners AmeriCorps members serve in a variety of regions, including…

  • California: San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, & Los Angeles
  • Washington: Seattle
  • Texas: Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Minnesota: Twin Cities
  • Oklahoma: Tulsa
  • South Carolina: Charleston & Lake City
  • North Carolina: Charlotte
  • Maryland: Baltimore
  • DC: Washington
  • New York: New York
  • CO: Denver

Reading Partners AmeriCorps – nation-wide – apply here!


ReMed Recovery Care Specialists Join the excitement of a dynamic company committed to providing exceptional neurological rehabilitation to adult brain injury survivors! ReMed is a growing organization dedicated to excellence, honesty and ethics in the treatment of our clients and each other. For more than 30 years, we’ve developed programs to meet the diverse needs of clients with moderate to severe traumatic and acquired brain injuries. We provide treatment for post-concussion syndrome, stroke, memory loss, neurobehavioral issues and accident or sports-related head injuries. Our CARF accredited, post acute residential, vocational and outpatient programs are offered in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions of Pennsylvania, with current expansion into New Jersey and Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia areas. Visit us online at for more information.



Riverside Community Care Imagine working for an award-winning, non-profit organization offering mental healthcare, developmental and brain injury services, youth and early childhood programs, addiction treatment, trauma response, and more.

At Riverside you can make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities by delivering compassionate, locally-based, integrated care.



Rocky Mountain Prep, an innovative, public elementary charter school network in the Denver-metro area. Our mission is to educate students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade with the rigorous academic preparation, character development, and individualized support necessary to succeed in a four-year college and life. Please feel free to take a look at our VISTA and Fellowship Opportunities! VISTA positions start immediately.

Fellowship opportunities are a July 2017 start!



Summit Preparatory Charter School Through rigorous academics and the development of active citizenship, Summit Preparatory Charter School educates fourth through eighth grade students for success in the most selective high schools and colleges.  Our team is made up of a highly collaborative group of teachers and staff who share a passion for closing the achievement gap. We have high expectations for academics and discipline, and simultaneously value joy in the classroom, making learning fun for our students and teachers. We believe that teachers are leaders on campus, and play a significant role in decision making and professional development.

Ideal candidates are passionate, driven, and dissatisfied with the educational status quo – if you believe all children deserve access to an excellent education, we look forward to speaking with you.


Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates, graduate students, and professionals – of all academic majors and career backgrounds – who commit to teach for two years in low-income urban and rural public schools. Our corps members become lifelong leaders in the effort to make a great education and the opportunities that come with it a reality for all students. Teach For America’s network in the 2016-2017 school year includes 8,000 corps members teaching in 53 regions across the country and more than 46,000 alumni working in education and many other sectors to create the systemic changes that will help end educational inequity.

Apply Now To take the next step and view the application, register on our website:



TNTP Teaching Fellows is a rigorous alternative certification program that recruits and trains talented career changers and recent college graduates to be outstanding teachers in high-need schools across the country. We have programs in Baltimore, Indiana, Nevada, and New Orleans.



UNITE HERE Local 25 is currently seeking applications for the position of Organizer-in-Training. We represent over 6,500 hotel workers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. We are in the process of building a rank-and-file leadership structure. The purpose of this structure is to increase the participation of the membership in the union and to enhance the union’s ability to mobilize our members for large-scale action in order to organize non-union workers, fight for higher wages and better benefits, and increase the rights of hotel workers in D.C.

Applicants must include a resume and cover letter. The cover letter should be clear and concise and explain which position you are applying for, the specific reasons for your interest in the position, and specify with appropriate explanation which of each of the listed qualifications you possess, and which ones you do not possess. The cover letter, resume, references and additional materials should be emailed to:



The mission of Urban Teachers is to prepare highly effective teachers who significantly accelerate student achievement in the nation’s highest-need schools. Urban Teachers accomplishes this by recruiting outstanding candidates, equipping them with state-of-the-art training, and linking their certification to their demonstration of effective teaching practices and skills. Founded in 2009, Urban Teachers is on the cutting edge of urban school reform by virtue of its link between teacher effectiveness and certification eligibility. Our residents and teachers will provide the necessary proof points to make a national case for educator effectiveness and accountability. Urban Teachers has offices in Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC and Dallas, TX. Additional regions will join Urban Teachers in the next few years. Learn more on our website:



WSU VISTA Fellows Project Open VISTA positions open across Kansas: View available positions:


Youth Villages is one of the leading private providers of help to children with serious emotional and behavioral problems and their families. We offer an array of evidence-based programs, designed to help children in the least restrictive setting, preferably their own homes.  With over 60 locations across 11 states, Youth Villages will serve over 18,000 children and families this year with an 83% success rate.  Our programs include, Home Based Counseling, Residential Treatment, Therapeutic Foster Care, Group Homes, Specialized Crisis Services, a Transitional Living Program, and Adoption Services which vary throughout our locations. Youth Villages also offers tuition and licensure reimbursement, full health benefits, wellness programs and many other benefits for our staff.



From Community Organizing to Teaching: A Segal Fellow Shares her Story of Activism and Service

October 27, 2016


For the #1of1million celebration in October, AmeriCorps Alums is recognizing alums with unique stories to share. This week, we are catching-up with one of the recipients of the AmeriCorps Alums Eli Segal Leadership Award, Tanika Lynch. Tanika is currently serving as an Urban Teacher in Baltimore, MD.




Congratulations on winning the Alums Segal Education Leadership Award! Out of all your leadership experiences, what was your proudest moment?

I organized in college around private prisons. We were called Columbia Prison Divest (with 10 core organizers and dozens of other contributors) and our goal was to compel the university to divest their stock to the companies that we knew of, and to educate our campus community about mass incarceration. In the beginning when we were goal-setting, we went around and decided what we wanted to see for the campaign by the end of the year. Several other seniors and I said that we wanted to see Columbia actually divest. It was a rough goal, and we weren’t sure it was actually going to happen, but we wanted to see that happen before we left the university.

Right around graduation, I saw the article come out that Columbia had actually divested their stock! We were surprised it happened, especially that quickly! That moment was so powerful. We realized the activism that we were doing actually had an impact! A few months later, I read that the Department of Justice decided to stop using private prisons. It was amazing to know that organizing on my campus could have had an impact in this larger movement.

I understood then that the work I do does have an impact . A lot of times we don’t get to actually see it. 

However, the means of getting there mattered more to me than anything else. Making sure that the students within our university knew what we were fighting for, and why, was more important to me than getting the university to actually divest.


Please tell us more about your AmeriCorps service. Why did you choose to serve? How has service experience changed your worldview?

I joined Playworks without knowing it was an AmeriCorps organization. Because of my experience with Prison Divest in college, I realized I can’t do work if I’m not working with the people who I’m impacting in the long run. I knew I wanted to work in education (or education policy one day) but I can’t do that if I’ve never worked in a school or with children. Playworks was that on-the-ground opportunity to learn about how schools worked before I started teaching. The work that I was already doing just happened to align to perfectly with the goals of AmeriCorps.

I’ve learned that it is so important to integrate yourself into the community that you’re planning on serving! A lot of people who are doing service work in general probably come from privileged backgrounds (maybe well-educated, upper-class, or White). As an outsider, people don’t respect you and won’t listen to you. You also can’t do effective work because you won’t know the needs of the community, especially if you’re not trying to become a part of that community. I have learned different ways of integrating, both formally and informally, whether it’s showing up to every event, so that people know you care, or organizing school events.

It’s important to be able to just play. Play is a productive thing, even though many people don’t see it that way. That time is productive and a great way to stay engaged! On the playground, children learn how to socialize, solve conflicts, and how to be leaders, but kids don’t know that it’s happening. Given the right environment, it will happen naturally!


What are some of your professional and personal goals? How will being a Segal Education Fellow help you achieve those goals? What are you looking forward to the most?

My professional goals are murky and I accept that. I know that I want to do some kind of organizing, but if it doesn’t have a larger impact, it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. However, I don’t want to be in a political office, nor do I want to be behind a desk all day. I think Segal will help me figure out how to merge my interest in education, the justice system, and community organizing into a position that is right for me. I am looking forward to the Segal retreat because there is a session particularly about how to take your broad interests and make the more concrete. I’m also looking forward to learning how to have a successful mentorship!


AmeriCorps Alums has launched a Race & Equity initiative, in partnership with the Annie E. Casie Foundation, in order to reduce racial disparities where we work and serve. What does equity and inclusion mean to you? Why are these strategies important in National Service?

I really appreciate that you use “equity” and not “equality.” Equity means everyone gets what they need.

Equity also requires activism, because in the natural state of things, everyone doesn’t get what they need, while those who don’t need often get more. It requires activism, movement, and intentional thinking about what needs to be changed.

It’s important for National Service because a lot of seemingly altruistic privileged people are doing service and sometimes it’s more self-serving for them. It helps the people who are trying to help, more than the communities they are trying to serve. You get that “feel-good” feeling that makes you happy that you did the work, but did you actually make an impact? Was your goal to serve someone or was it just to do something good to say that you did it? That mindset comes from people who don’t come from the community itself. I think this new initiative to reduce racial disparities is so important because you don’t have to work as hard to become a part of the community if you are from the community.

Supporting Corps Member Recruitment & Retention: A Partnership that Gets Results

October 25, 2016

AmeriCorps Alums is making it easier for AmeriCorps programs to recruit and retain Corps members, according to new research.  Over the past year, Serve Wisconsin (the Wisconsin State Commission) partnered with AmeriCorps Alums to intentionally connect their portfolio to AmeriCorps Alums resources – and found benefits to corps members, program staff, programs, and the Wisconsin national service community. This partnership built on the findings from AmeriCorps Alums 2014-2015 program evaluation.

According to Tom Devine, former Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin, “Through the partnership with AmeriCorps Alums, staff at 23 AmeriCorps programs and 700 AmeriCorps members were connected to professional resources and support. AmeriCorps programs’ saw an increase in recruitment, completion, and retention. More than anything, the national service movement grew stronger because we’re connecting members to the national service alumni community.”

csvcywzwiaepu6qAccording to the 2014 – 2015 AmeriCorps Alums program evaluation, a control group of 219 corps members exposed to the “Alums treatment” saw statistically significant outcomes (in comparison to a treatment group separated by geography). The corps members in the treatment group were more likely to*:

  • report an interest in returning to AmeriCorps for another year of service;
  • know how to use their education award;
  • be aware of the resources available to reach their goals;
  • be knowledgeable about who to turn to for career advice or support and how to discuss AmeriCorps in interviews;
  • feel connected to a network of AmeriCorps members serving across the country; and
  • report an interest in pursuing policy issues that were important to them in the future


Then, during the 2015-2016 program year, Serve Wisconsin replicated and scaled Alums’ 2014-2015 evaluation. According to Amy Porter, Program Officer with Serve Wisconsin, “This partnership allows our commission the ability to support program recruitment and retention. These are two areas we always want to spend more time on but have difficulty doing so sufficiently with our limited staff capacity. AmeriCorps Alums helps expand our outreach and support to programs in these important areas.”  According to Wisconsin’s internal member survey, Serve Wisconsin found that 1 in 5 currently serving members learned about AmeriCorps through an alum.   The partnership with Alums is a long-term investment in growing these recruitment resources, guided by the belief that connected and supported corps members will become connected and supported recruiters for and champions of AmeriCorps.


A key to the partnership’s success, Serve Wisconsin enrolled all 2015 currently serving members into AmeriCorps Alums, so that all currently serving members were introduced to resources, supports, and inspiration from the alumni network. Nationwide, members and alums are not automatically enrolled in AmeriCorps Alums, even if they request enrollment on their exit forms, due to CNCS regulation. Currently, only 10% of alumni are registered with the national alumni association. The partnership between Serve Wisconsin & AmeriCorps Alums bridged the gap between AmeriCorps members and alums, while inspiring continued service, facilitating a community of AmeriCorps supporters and guiding AmeriCorps members into successful careers.  According to Kaira Esgate, Executive Director of America’s Service Commissions, “AmeriCorps Alums has created thoughtful, research-informed, & easy to use resources for states and programs to support AmeriCorps staff and Corps members. By making connections to Alums during recruitment and throughout the corps year, we’re building a stronger AmeriCorps community.”


For the 2016 – 2017 AmeriCorps year, AmeriCorps Alums is pleased to have partnerships with the following state service commissions, building on the research-based model:  Nevada Volunteers, OneStar (Texas), Serve Wisconsin, and Volunteer Florida. Want to get your AmeriCorps program members connected with AmeriCorps Alums?  There are 3 easy ways.  For additional information and steps to connect and enroll your members, visit:

 *Statistically significant at the .05 level






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