Have you ever seen the “AmeriCorps Serving Here” sign posted in the window of the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and wondered what it meant?
“AmeriCorps is essentially a network of service programs. We work to meet community needs in education, the environment, public, safety, and so much more,” said McKenna Myers, CCE graduate assistant.
Leading the community service projects at CCE, Myers is also an AmeriCorps member. The sign in the window lets other students know that AmeriCorps is part of her role, and it helps to build awareness about the AmeriCorps program.
AmeriCorps offers many benefits such as living allowances, education awards, professional development, money for school, and more. There are full-time and part-time positions with volunteer opportunities ranging from teaching the youth in communities to getting out and volunteering in all kinds of projects.
“I got involved with AmeriCorps after receiving my undergraduate degree. Right after college, it seems like every job is seeking an applicant with 2–3 years of experience, even at the entry-level, which I didn’t have right out of college,” said Cassidy Kraimer, Stevenson Fellow, and AmeriCorps member at the McLean County Regional Planning Commission.
“Also, I knew I wanted to go into the nonprofit or public sector so after some research I found AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps seemed like such a natural fit for me because it provided the experience that employers are looking for while connecting me to mission-based organizations and the nonprofit industry that I was hoping to start my career in,” she said.
Since so many people have such positive experiences in AmeriCorps, the Stevenson Center has a partnership with Western Illinois University that allows some students to complete an AmeriCorps term while in their first-year graduate assistantships or second-year professional placements at Illinois State.
“I would recommend that everyone strongly consider dedicating 11 months to AmeriCorps service. Not only does AmeriCorps provide the opportunity to serve communities in need, but also the opportunity to develop career skills that will last a lifetime,” said Max Seeley, graduate student and teaching assistant for the Department of Politics and Government.
“AmeriCorps provided me the opportunity for personal growth, career development, and friends that will last a lifeline. My AmeriCorps service is something that I am extremely proud of, and it will remain as a highlight on my resume,” said Seeley.
The work that is completed in AmeriCorps allows for personal growth while also getting experience to add to a resume that many companies in the workforce are looking for.
“Thus far, I have had a very positive experience as an AmeriCorps member. I suppose I knew I would because I had learned about this position and the work I would be doing prior to officially joining AmeriCorps,” said Myers.
“In my role as an AmeriCorps member, I work to engage and connect ISU students to service experiences which may help them to develop a deeper understanding of social issues, practice and enhance their skills, and discover the impact they can make as community members. Overall, this experience has been very enjoyable, and I look forward to doing it again next year,” said Myers.
To help students learn more about the program and possibly start their own journey with AmeriCorps, Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center is offering a presentation on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 3 p.m. in Schroeder Hall 212. Registration is available online.
“When I joined AmeriCorps, I was a little confused and anxious about the process for sure, so the first thing I would say is you are not alone,” said Kraimer.
“There are so many professionals in mission-based organizations and in the public sector that have done AmeriCorps, so don’t be afraid to reach out, request an informational interview with someone in your dream organization or job, and see what experience they have had or reach out to Stevenson Center students to ask the questions you have about the process.”
The March 15 presentation will be answering the big questions of what is the difference between the AmeriCorps programs? What are examples of things that people in these programs have done? What are the benefits, and how can I engage in these programs?
“We really want everyone to know about AmeriCorps, and if they want to know about AmeriCorps, we want them to have a place to go, which is why this presentation is so important,” said Paige Buschman, program coordinator at the Stevenson Center.