In honor of AmeriCorps Week, we are joining the national celebration to recognize those who choose to serve. In its almost 25 year history, AmeriCorps has engaged over 1 million United States citizens to build our homes, teach our youth, strengthen our businesses, protect the environment, and serve as mentors. To demonstrate the real life impact of national service, we asked some of our staff to reflect on their experiences with AmeriCorps.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Muhammad Ali
Everyone at MENTOR is committed to service. That perhaps goes without saying, but it is worth noting that every staff member who served with AmeriCorps says the experience, in one way or another, inspired their career and led them to MENTOR.
One way this manifests is in a clearer knowledge of one’s skills and interests, as Delia Hagan (Program Manager) and Adrienne Popeney (Manager, Affiliate Network) attest. “I found out how strong I was,” Delia explains, who served to coordinate rebuilding efforts in Biloxi, Mississippi. “I was asked to do much more than I expected to be able to do, and I rose to the challenge.” Meanwhile, Adrienne learned from managing a tutoring program her junior year of college that, not only did she have the ability to create systems for education, she enjoyed it. “Had I not had this experience to show my skill and interest,” she says. “I don’t know that I would have gone into my grad school program.”
Adrienne earned her Master’s in Social Work with a focus in macro systems, a concentration she did not know about until her AmeriCorps supervisor mentioned it. Sometimes the unexpected happens and the people you meet open future pathways. Delia mentions that some of the friends she made helped connect her to job opportunities eight years after serving together; while, Madison Snelling, who began this year as the Development and Corporate Engagement VISTA, has just accepted a full-time position with MENTOR’s Development Team!
These were not the only significant connections formed during service years, nor were the amazing results the most transformative. Every staff member speaks with a smile about the people they met during that time, who often continue to inspire them. Some, like Jennifer Bourgoin (Program Manager), even credit AmeriCorps with showing them the power that lies at the heart of MENTOR’s work. “My biggest takeaway was the impact of relationships, both on young people and on adults,” says Jen. “AmeriCorps showed me that relationships can bring fulfillment, self-confidence, and a greater sense of understanding and learning.”
For everyone at MENTOR, service is more than just a year. It is a career, a compass, a path ahead. Sam Hawes (Digital Communications Associate) expresses this best: “My service year is over, but the work of serving will continue throughout my life.”
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How has AmeriCorps influenced your journey? Share your #AmeriCorpsWorks story with us!