One term; 10 and a half months; 46.5 weeks: a life-changing opportunity. In honor of AmeriCorps Week 2018, we want to take a moment to recognize and introduce this important program and the members who serve.
Created in 1994, AmeriCorps is a core program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages Americans by addressing our nation’s challenges through service. Each year, more than 80,000 AmeriCorps members serve at sites across the country, including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups, focusing on areas such as disaster relief, education, and economic opportunity. Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) was one of the first nonprofits to partner with AmeriCorps, with members serving in leadership roles on build sites or at local Habitat affiliates assisting families, volunteers and staff.
The increased capacity that AmeriCorps members provide to organizations like Habitat is essential to serving communities around the country. According to HFHI, Habitat affiliates that host AmeriCorps members engage 70 percent more volunteers and help serve nine more families than affiliates that do not host and have a similar staff size and budget. Not only is the AmeriCorps program beneficial to host sites like Habitat, it also provides professional development and promotes leadership skills among its members, preparing them for a competitive job market.
AmeriCorps members can be recent graduates, students taking a year off, professionals looking for a career change, or anyone passionate about giving back to their community while gaining real world experience. Members receive a small living stipend throughout their term and an education award upon completion that can be put toward tuition or student loans. Our 2017-2018 AmeriCorps members are Rayne Schwantes, Beth Williams, Rissa Steele, Sam Thune, Ian Gallager, and Cassie Punnett. Together, they build communities, serve Habitat families and volunteers, and most of all, get things done.