Why volunteer for a national service agency? Simply put, there are no negative consequences for serving our country through volunteerism and it is not a one way street. Volunteering does not consist of altruism and selflessness acts alone, the volunteer can benefit from their service, too! Serving for AmeriCorps (an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service) has been a rewarding experience and for the community I serve. I challenge everyone to get involved and volunteer within their communities.
Created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, AmeriCorps provides an opportunity to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you by engaging in community service programs across America. AmeriCorps consists of three sectors; State and National, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). Serving through a network of partnerships with local and national non-profit agencies, AmeriCorps provides a wide variety of service opportunities working with multiple industries such as, education, community development, disaster relief, children and youth, technology, homelessness, the environment, and other related areas.
My discovery of AmeriCorps could not have come at a better time. Applying to graduate school and not receiving the required assistantship that I needed for my program caused a great deal of stress in my life. I first heard about AmeriCorps during an informational session at my college, where I discovered all of the great opportunities and benefits the program has to offer. Countless researches eventually drove me to apply for a few different AmeriCorps programs, in the end I received and accepted a service position with AmeriCorps State and National. I applied for the specific program, AmeriCorps Ohio College Guide, because I knew that I would not only be able to help college students succeed and make a difference, but I would also be able to gain experience that will be relevant to the master's degree I want to earn!
The past seven months of my service have been rewarding and beneficial; I have gained new knowledge, improved skills, and made new friends. It is immensely gratifying to see how the smallest acts contribute to large changes in the community and being a part of this network of volunteers across America is fulfilling. AmeriCorps mobilizes four million volunteers annually and has 75,000 members engaged in service annually at 15,000 locations across the country. You could be one of those volunteers serving for the better of our country!
Krystle Marler is an AmeriCorps College Guide for Washington State Community College and Morgan County Learning Center.