AmeriCorps and ME
If you’re a part of the millennial crowd, chances are you’re familiar with the entry level positions that require five years experience that seem to crowd the job market. From highly competitive $12 per hour office assistant jobs to unpaid internships, there’s experience to be had if you can afford both the time and energy to hustle paying bills and loans alongside it too. We all negotiate a balance somehow, the way that I’ve spent my first year out of college is as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
Usually when people ask what AmeriCorps is the simplest explanation is “it’s kind of like the domestic PeaceCorps.” As an AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteer in Service to America, you become a temporary part of a non-profit agency staff whose role it is to increase the capacity of that organization to achieve its mission. You’re given a specific focus area and projects to bring to a new stage of development over the course of your term of service. Because the program offers this skilled support at no immediate cost to the agency itself, the position often allows you to gain experience at greater levels of involvement and complexity than is often afforded other folks with your background and experience. In my time as a VISTA with the Health Equity Alliance I've used a variety of skills from planning social media content to drafting LGBTQ+ primary care screening tools. There's a wealth of opportunity in every VISTA position.
This was my reason for joining AmeriCorps, getting hands on experience that, despite being a volunteer position, comes with financial assistance. The opportunity for entry level that goes beyond the clerical work that young folks so often are asked to do. The program offers the chance to explore your skills and try your hand at a variety of non-profit work while making tangible impact in your community.
As AmeriCorps members, we work directly in communities to build solutions for long-term support and resources that will continue to serve them even once we’re gone. Here in Maine our work engages students in enriched learning opportunities, creates new channels for food security, and cultivates healthcare solutions for our most marginalized populations, just to name a few. AmeriCorps has been a great opportunity for me, but it’s an even better opportunity for ME.
Celebrate AmeriCorps Week with us by learning more about the program and keep an eye out for members in your community!