At Seattle Works we’re constantly talking about the advantages of volunteering and why it’s so important to get involved in your community. So it comes as no surprise that 3 of us at Seattle Works are actually full time volunteers!
Ben, Irina, and I are all a part of AmeriCorps. Launched in 1993 AmeriCorps operates nationwide placing volunteers at a variety of organizations for eleven month stints. Many of your favorite local nonprofits may have AmeriCorps serving with them allowing for them to expand their capacity.
On top of building local capacity for small organizations that work hard AmeriCorps is also considered a pipeline for those interested in careers in public service. It allows us to get first hand experience working for nonprofits while getting more interesting tasks than making coffee.
Of course like any program there are detractors as well as supporters. Some question if AmeriCorps decreases entry level jobs available in public service by filling the spots with underpaid labor (as an AmeriCorps member you receive a stipend and make less than minimum wage). And the quality of experience varies wildly depending on the organization you’re placed with so many people have differing views of their 11 months.
Last week was AmeriCorps week and we loved seeing stories from all across the states about how AmeriCorps has positively affected various communities. How has AmeriCorps affected your community? Are you an AmeriCorps alum? What made you devote a year to service?