Monday, March 11, 2013

Celebrating AmeriCorps Week

Debbie Wise, NeighborWorks AmeriCorps
VISTA program manager
Every day in communities across America, AmeriCorps members are making a powerful impact on the most critical issues facing our nation. Whether building stronger, healthier communities, rebuilding after disasters, preserving the environment, or enhancing relationships among neighbors that lead to positive community change, AmeriCorps members are getting things done. Since 1994, more than 775,000 AmeriCorps members have given one billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.

NeighborWorks America is proud of its 84 AmeriCorps VISTA members serving at 44 NeighborWorks organizations across 28 states. Their hard work, commitment, and dedication to their project sites and communities often go on quietly and without fanfare. This week we celebrate and share their stories. And, most of all, we thank them for their service.

In support of AmeriCorps Week, the NeighborWorks VISTA Program has encouraged VISTA members serving at NeighborWorks organizations to assist their communities through acts of service. This year, some planned AmeriCorps Week activities include:

Family Services, Inc.
North Charleston, South Carolina
A VISTA named Jessica paints a D.C. park bench
AmeriCorps VISTA member Sarah Cornwall is helping out with a Financial Literacy workshop. The topic will be on student loans.  Sarah will be a guest speaker, presenting on AmeriCorps and the opportunities it offers including the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

Community HousingWorks
Escondido, California
Natalie Kessler and Kelly Kean will talk  with teen residents of Community HousingWorks affordable housing complexes.  They will share their experiences as AmeriCorps VISTAs and present on other post high school/college volunteer career opportunities like Teach for America and CityCorps. 

Columbus, Ohio
AmeriCorps VISTA member Becky Neubauer is cleaning up and planting bulbs at the local community center and taking part in a cultural competency and community team building trainings.

NHS of South Florida
Miami, Florida
AmeriCorps VISTA members Victoria Fear and Ryan Shedd will be participating in NHSSF’s 9th Annual Community Paint and Beautification Day, They’ll be assisting homeowners with limited incomes improve their homes by providing exterior painting and light landscape restoration. NHSSF’s goal is to empower homeowners and build community pride through this neighborhood beautification project. In 2012, 12 homes were improved with the assistance of more than 300 volunteers!

“We are proud to be part of AmeriCorps and grateful for the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done right here in our community,” said Arden Shank, President and CEO of the Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida.  “AmeriCorps members have made a tremendous impact in our community, allowing us to extend our services and better carry out our mission.”  

AmeriCorps Week takes place March 9-17, 2013. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag: #ACweek