230 energetic young adults from across the nation have piled into vans to begin a new adventure serving others through the AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).
Two weeks ago, they deployed in 24 teams across the country, assisting community groups that are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or implementing wildfire management in the West.
“It feels amazing to know that during these unprecedented times I have the chance to make a real difference,” Wilhemina Solley told GNN.
“It was so rewarding to talk to homeowners and know that because of the work I was doing, they are going to be safer and more protected from wildfires. I know that this is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
The training for AmeriCorps began in October and emphasized Covid-19 safety, teamwork, leadership development, and communication.
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From tackling food insecurity to providing affordable housing, these youth are bridging the gap by providing much-needed volunteers and people power.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the groups that is benefitting from the ten week deployments. Two of the teams are wielding hammers and power tools assisting with affordable home construction in Sacramento.
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One team traveled to Stockton, California to help with food distribution. Like another group in California assisting with fire management, one team arrived in Oregon to work on similar projects and upkeep the environment.
From ‘Purple 6 team’ serving in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bode Anderson-Brown discovered the most impactful aspect was getting out of his comfort zone.
“Talking to people on the phone and getting them the assistance they need… I previously considered this to be out of my wheelhouse, but have now discovered that I have a talent for it!”
Other groups are assisting the Health Department by supporting coronavirus testing sites and delivering hygiene supplies to residents.
“Being able to step up and help places that really need it has been such a gratifying way to take a year that would otherwise have been staying at home, and make it a life-changing experience,” Solley said.
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They each will graduate from NCCC on July 14th, after completing 3-5 long-term service projects investing over 1,700 hours. In exchange, members receive $6,395 to help pay for college or pay back existing student loans.
The 10-month residential program funded by the U.S. government engages around 2,100 young people every year between the ages of 18 and 26. It was originally envisioned by a bipartisan group of Senators and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
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