The “AmeriCorps Experience” means a lot of different things to a lot of people. However, let’s be honest, there are even more people out there who either haven’t heard of AmeriCorps or just don’t get it.
And that’s OK!
Regardless of which category you fall into, below are 5 great takeaways from AmeriCorps alumni that might offer some clarity. Along the way are some insights from our very own VISTA member, Brieanna Chillious.
The Morrison Institute at Arizona State University released the following data in a 2018 report to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Researchers conducted focus groups with 50 former members who’d served across five different states. In these focus groups, alumni participants consistently said that their AmeriCorps experience:
1. Was incredibly rewarding: AmeriCorps alumni expressed that service gave them a sense of purpose in the knowledge that the work they did had meaningful impact for the community in which they served.2. Led to personal and professional growth: Not only did alumni report that their AmeriCorps experience opened new doors to employment, but they also felt more equipped to handle any subsequent professional challenges that they encounter.
3. Exposed them to a new network of employment opportunities: When you serve as an AmeriCorps member you join an entire professional network of current and former members. The researchers found that in several instances, this network contributed to alumni employment opportunities beyond those reportedly offered at the member’s site.
4. Catalyzed them to continue their education: Over 1/3 of the individuals in the focus groups reported that they were either planning to go back to school or already had. Their AmeriCorps experience gave them the confidence and the direction to pursue an educational path that complemented their professional goals.
5. Allowed them to give back to their community, contribute to an organization that they care about and derive meaning from their work.
AmeriCorps is a big commitment, but the research shows that the perks are real, the growth can be life changing, and the opportunities are diverse! To see for yourself, check out the full report here.
And if you want to learn more about our available AmeriCorps opportunities and/or national service in general, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.