By Ashley Benson, AmeriCorps State Team Leader
Ask any AmeriCorps member, past or present, and we will tell you the same thing: We. Are. Awesome. Arizona Serve places around 190 passionate, dedicated, and distinctly talented members per year in 55 organizations throughout Pima and Yavapai counties. And guess what, We #GETTHINGSDONE!
Maybe you are reading this and thinking, this person is clearly biased. And you would be correct, I most certainly am….so don’t take my word for it.
In an earlier post, we looked at some of the perks for AmeriCorps members compiled by researchers at Arizona State University. The research shows that the benefits are mutual, members receive valuable experience while serving communities across the country, and sites get one-of-kind resources that elevate their programming to the next level. This time we will explore 3 ways that partner organizations benefit from hosting AmeriCorps members. If the research isn’t enough, check out what our current partners have to say about their members!
#1 Supervisor Admiration of AmeriCorps Service Members
You may not realize this, but the living allowance AmeriCorps members receive for their service is meager at best. Yet, supervisors report that despite the pressures of limited financial resources, members remain steadfast in their dedication and passion for public service. AmeriCorps State Member Supervisor Valeria Seeton at Iskashitaa says,
“I honestly don’t think I could do this without [AmeriCorps State Member Nolan Rose]. He has helped with relations with the community, with reaching out to people that I wouldn’t have thought to do. His language skills have really helped with working with the refugees and the communication component.”
#2 Supervisors Prefer to Hire AmeriCorps Members
Vetting potential candidates for open positions in your organization can be a tricky business, right? Hiring AmeriCorps alumni removes a lot of that costly and time-consuming guesswork. The research shows, host site supervisors prefer hiring AmeriCorps members over outside candidates or non-AmeriCorps alumni. According to this study, 87% of supervisors either hired their members or helped members find employment elsewhere after completing their service term.
#3 Organization Capacity Building
Many supervisors expressed that they would not be able to carry out programming at the level they do without the presence of AmeriCorps members on their team. This especially held true in smaller organizations with a limited budget for hiring full-time employees. Leslie Pike, winner of an Arizona Serve 2018-2019 Site Supervisor Award, shared with me,
“The problem that existed for us was that I did not have the time to put in the work that was required to really deepen our service enterprise initiative. With Elisabeth [Monsma, AmeriCorps State member at the Diaper Bank], the skills she brings, her great experience, it allows her to really focus on elaborating on that and making our volunteer program much better.”
Literacy Connects Site Supervisor Cheryl Gamm agreed.
“The biggest impact of having AmeriCorps members is that they are allowing us to see more students. In addition to that coaching role which is so important, Seleana [Kleparek, AmeriCorps State member at Reading Seed] also provides just in time support for the coaches. Seleana being here physically provides them the opportunity to rehash the challenges and brainstorm solutions, to receive that ‘AHA’ moment and then push it out. It’s two really important roles.”
Want to learn more? Read the full report here.
Thank you to our members and to our partners at Literacy Connects, Iskashitaa, and the Diaper Bank as well as all of our sites for their good work in the community! Do you want to host an AmeriCorps member? Stay tuned: partner applications will be live shortly. If you have any questions, reach out to us at email@example.com.