What is AmeriCorps? What do you do?

“AmeriCorps? I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen the name. What is it?”

When I tell someone that I am serving as an AmeriCorps, generally, they will not have any clue what AmeriCorps is or they have heard of it or have seen people wearing the “A”.

Wikipedia’s definition: AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in intensive community service with the goal of helping others and meeting critical needs in the community. Members commit to full-time or part-time positions offered by a network of non-profit community community organizations and public agencies, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, health care, and environmental protection.

My definition: AmeriCorps members dedicate a year or more of our lives to public service. It is a domestic Peace Corps. We serve our communities, we serve our country through positive initiatives to create long-term impact. We are teachers, we are mentors, we are a public servant. We are on the ground, tackling community issues head on. We are mission-oriented and globally minded. We serve in complex and unpredictable environments. We are passionate and we are flexible. We get things done.

There are a variety of branches of AmeriCorps. Depending on which field a member is interested in (education, health care, public safety, or environmental protection) each branch of AmeriCorps has their own mission.

Social Capital Inc. (SCI) AmeriCorps:ย I am with the SCI branch of AmeriCorps. Our mission is focus on economic development, health and wellness, and youth success. We strengthen communities by connecting diverse individuals and organizations through civic engagements activities. We envision a nation where individuals are strongly connected to their neighbors and play an active role in shaping the destiny of their communities.

Specifically, what do you do? :ย I am the SCI AmeriCorps for Partners for a Healthier Community housed at United Neighbors. As I represent three different but well connected organizations — I do everything!

  • MyFallRiver.org & eBlast: I am the Webmaster for the myfallriver.org website and weekly eBlast newsletter. I am responsible for keeping the website up to date on current events and programs within the community.
  • Fall River Youth Violence Prevention Confronting Discrimination (FRVYP CD):ย is a sub-committee of the Fall River Youth Violence Prevention Task Force. The mission of this committee is to start the conversation of discrimination within the City of Fall River. This is a pro-active group, not a reactive group. We focus on any issue that may fall under the umbrella of discrimination whether it may be; gender, LGBTQ+, age, ability/disability, race, class, religion, etc. This team is a mix of youth, community leaders, and elected city officials. This committee meets bi-monthly for a two-part meeting. We encourage anyone, particularly the students to gain public speaking skills by leading a presentation, activity, or discussion based on one of the topics that fall under the umbrella of discrimination.
  • W.A.V.E (Women. Action. Voices. Empowerment) is a gender-specific group established to attend to the needs of young women in the City of Fall River. It is a safe place where; young women can feel united, support one another, feel physically and emotionally safe, establish goals for themselves, and voice any current issues or concerns that they may have without judgment. WAVE also educates and empowers young women to advocate for themselves, their communities, and allows them to us their voice to promote positive change. We aim to build confidence and self-esteem by providing members with the opportunity to gain leadership and public speaking skills. We strive to improve academic performance by ensuring that the girls are practicing time management.In short, the girls focus on:
    • Self-love, self-awareness, leadership, mindfulness
    • Using their voice to advocate for themselves and their communities in a positive manner
    • Cultural awareness
    • Academic performance and furthering their education
    • Healthy coping mechanisms, developing life skills, and making healthy choices
    • Preventing negative decisions (violence, pregnancy, drug abuse, etc)

 

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