The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” Mahatma Gandhi.
AmeriCorps is a federally sponsored public service program. With a focus on addressing critical needs in the community, AmeriCorps recognizes that complex, overlapping issues require creative solutions. AmeriCorps strives to make an impact in everything from education and economic development to disaster response and health. AmeriCorps does this by connecting local organizations (including schools, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and more) to skilled volunteers. Local organizations have a deep understanding of their communities but might need support with capacity building, program design and implementation, or direct services.
Communities First, Inc. is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to build healthy, vibrant communities through economic development, affordable housing, and innovative programming. The organization has hosted several AmeriCorps members and uses the program to offer members an introduction to the community development field.
“Our AmeriCorps members have added tremendous value over the years. They tend to be deeply committed to mission oriented work and community. We work hard to ensure a positive experience filled with personal and professional growth opportunities. AmeriCorps has a strong network and long history of success. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn, grow and give back,” said Essence Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer at Communities First, Inc.
In 2019-2020, there were over four hundred AmeriCorps members serving in Flint and Genesee County. When asked why they joined, one AmeriCorps member said she knew she could “make a real difference in the community”.
Making a difference can look different for every AmeriCorps member, as individuals’ projects can include but are not limited to mentoring students, cultivating community gardens, and securing affordable housing for Flint residents.
Alongside their own projects, AmeriCorps members come together to collaborate through the Flint National Service Accelerator, an initiative housed at the United Way of Genesee County.
AmeriCorps members serve anywhere from ten weeks to a year. One AmeriCorps member serving at Communities First, Inc. emphasized the opportunity as a great professional development experience. Not only does it provide a hands-on experience in financial education, a personal passion, but she believes AmeriCorps will help her succeed in graduate school.
In addition to gaining professional experience, AmeriCorps members have benefits like living stipends, healthcare benefits, childcare, and educational awards for higher education.
While reflecting on her AmeriCorps experience, one of the programs one million alumni said she would tell interested individuals to “Just do it! Go for it, if you have a skillset, they will find a way to use it”.
To learn more about the AmeriCorps program and its many opportunities visit https://americorps.gov/serve
You can connect to local AmeriCorps programs by visiting the Flint National Service Accelerator at https://www.unitedwaygenesee.org/flint-national-service-accelerator
If you’re interested in an AmeriCorps position at Communities First, Inc., please email: email@example.com. There are several open positions!