Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service announced the winners of its 2010 AmeriCorps Video and Photo contest before hundreds of program directors gathered at the annual AmeriCorps grantee meeting here.
Julie Walker, a second-year AmeriCorps member with Literacy AmeriCorps Pittsburgh, took grand prize for her video “AmeriCorps Is…” which depicts the many ways AmeriCorps members serve their communities through a fast-paced animated flip-book approach.
“My degree is in film, but my heart is in service. Being given the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the AmeriCorps program with others by bringing two of my passions together was wonderful,” said Walker.
Krystal Kekula, a Community Health Corps AmeriCorps member who serves at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center in Milwaukee, won grand prize in the photo contest for her picture “Planting the Seeds for Tomorrow,” which shows an AmeriCorps member helping a child planting peppers at a community garden.
“I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to serve in AmeriCorps. It has been the experience of a lifetime, and I'm so excited about the lasting impact of my photo and service,” said Kekula.
The contest was part of the fourth annual AmeriCorps Week, a national recruitment and recognition event that took place May 8 through 15. The contest, which this year was opened to the general public, drew 55 video and 292 photo submissions. More than 4,100 voters were cast to choose the winners, and the entries have been viewed more 80,000 times. All of the entries can be viewed at contest website.
Both grand prize winners will receive a 4-day, 3-night all expenses paid trip for two to our nation's capital furnished by United Health Group. The trip includes airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, and tours of national points of interest.
Jaime Olive, an AmeriCorps member with the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation AmeriCorps Program in Lake Tahoe, CA, took first prize in the video contest for “Carrying Our Community.” Olive will receive $1,000 from Choice Hotels for to support a favored charity, a $500 cash prize, a customized NFL gear package, and a $100 Starbucks Gift Card.
Taking second place in the video contest was Alese Colehour, an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin Texas, for her video “Could Be You.” Denise Barnes
From Albany, GA won third prize for a rap video about how members of the Albany Police AmeriCorps program prevent violence and provide positive alternatives for local youth.
In the photo contest, Laura Narum, an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the Community Corrections Improvement Association in Cedar Rapids, IA, took first prize for her picture “Beyond” which depicts AmeriCorps members bringing life back to a community affected by a devastating flood. Narum will receive $1,000 from National Geographic to support a charity of her choice, a $500 cash prize, a customized NFL gear package, and a $100 Starbucks Gift Card.
Peter Chace, an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Pennsylvania Campus Compact in Pittsburgh, won second place for his photo “Fight Poverty With Passion.” Taking third prize was Julian Howard , an AmeriCorps NCCC member in Sacramento, CA, for his photo “Careful Measurements.”
“This contest gives us a chance to tap into the incredible creativity of AmeriCorps members - and the general public - to help us tell the AmeriCorps story,” said Ranit Schmelzer, the agency's Director of Public Affairs. “We were pleased with the response and the excitement this contest generated, and look forward to using these videos and photos to recruit more AmeriCorps members.”
This year's contest was open to anyone. Entries were judged on overall impact, creativity, memorable content and delivery, clear message, alignment with the mission and goals of AmeriCorps, and the public rating. After a panel of Corporation judges selected the finalists, the public determined the winners through online voting.
The contest added excitement to AmeriCorps Week and created a way for AmeriCorps members and alumni to showcase the hard work they do throughout the year. This year's AmeriCorps Week involved more than 480 projects across the nation, a robust social media campaign, recognition events at Major League Baseball games, and presentations in schools and community groups.
Grand Prize Winner: AmeriCorps Is . . .
Julie Walker, Literacy* AmeriCorps Pittsburgh
First Place Winner: Carrying Our Community
Jaime Olive, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation AmeriCorps Program
Lake Tahoe, CA
Second Place Winner: Could Be You
Alese Colehour, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
Third Place Winner: Albany Police AmeriCorps- Getting Things Done for Albany, GA
Denise Barnes, Albany Police AmeriCorps
Grand Prize Winner: Planting the Seeds for Tomorrow
Krystal Kekula, Community Health Corps at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
First Place Winner: Beyond
Laura Narum, Community Corrections Improvement Association Flood Recovery
Cedar Rapids, IA
Second Place: Fight Poverty With Passion
Peter Chace, Pennsylvania Campus Compact and Duquesne University and Center of Life
Third Place: Careful Measurements
Julian Howard, AmeriCorps NCCC, Pacific Region