I am now entering my fourth week in my AmeriCorps journey and have finally sat down to relay my experiences to family and friends. Needless to say, they have kept me plenty busy here and I will be playing catch-up in my first handful of posts! After about twenty minutes of staring at this blank screen deliberating where to begin, I have decided to answer the question that I have been most asked in the past six months.
First, allow me to explain exactly what AmeriCorps NCCC is.
AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with non-profits—secular and faith based—local municipalities, state governments, federal government, national and state parks, Indian tribes, and schools, members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned.
AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18-24.
Those who know me well know that I intend on pursuing a degree in Higher Education and hope to work in Student Affairs and Counseling at a university someday. Upon reaching my last year of undergrad at LSU, I realized that I was not yet ready to move directly on to grad school and I felt that my experiences in student leadership, while certainly valuable, could stand to be supplemented. I knew that I wanted to challenge myself and spend a full gap year growing as a leader. After several months of research, I found that AmeriCorps NCCC just made sense because of its relevancy to student affairs in so many areas.
1. Social Justice: Definitely a huge focus for all universities, a year of service through NCCC will help me grow in this commitment.
2. Diversity: Each member in the program represents a variety of backgrounds, socio-economic status, education levels, you name it. In addition, AmeriCorps places an emphasis on immersing one’s self in the community in which we are serving. No two communities will look alike and the projects will bring together corps members and civilians to promote engagement and better the towns.
3. Housing: I will be serving as the “Resident Director” in a sense, of our housing everywhere we live. I will be acting in the role of an RA by enforcing quiet hours, room checks, curfews, facilitating housing check in orientations, and clean up before leaving. My role will also allow me to build a sense of community among the team within our housing.
4. Career Services/Transitional Services: I will assist each team member in creating a résumé and determining their next step in life after AmeriCorps, including job search, college searches, interview preps, etc.
5. Supervisory Skills: I will be supervising 10+ members in daily work and also at home, logging weekly time sheets, completing project assessment reports weekly, handling discipline as needed including write ups, etc.
6. Collaboration: I will create and maintain partnerships between NCCC and community partners, as well as between community partners and community stakeholders depending on the project.
7. Advising/Mentoring: This is a hat that I will wear 24/7. As the Team Leader, I will serve as a role model to the members of my team and strengthen the interpersonal relationships with each member through one-on-ones and team problem solving. I also have received a certification in Mental Health First Aid that has prepared me to address various personal needs within the team.
I am only halfway through my preparation and have already received training in communication, supervisory skills, volunteer management, and disaster response. I already feel that I have acquired skills that will stay with me my whole life and aid me in both my personal and professional growth. We still have about 3 weeks before our team members arrive and I already can’t wait to aid in their personal development and watch us grow as a team over the next year!
Stay tuned to read about my bonding time with my fellow team leaders and our first official service project!
AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region Class XX Team Leaders