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MLK Day 2018

AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers get things done by giving back to their community in D.C. for MLK Day Of Service 2018.

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From Our Blog

From Our Blog

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By Debbie Basile, Project Director - Lutheran Foster Grandparent Program

It was Sunday morning and I began the usual routine: I stretched in bed; arms flung outward; groaned a bit; leisurely ambled my way to the bathroom. I scowled at myself in the mirror and completed the tasks at hand. I got dressed and went off to church.

You know how it is in church: everyone has a specific seat. Therefore, I went to my usual spot - the back left corner. I believe that finding that familiar seat is a throwback to grade school, when we all sat in alphabetical order or in our reading group. I wandered over to the table and poured myself a cup of coffee; this is an offering at our contemporary service. I sat quietly listening to the prelude music as the parishioners sauntered in. From my corner spot, I have an ideal vantage point - I can see who comes and who goes, who sits here, who sits there, and who sits with whom. I love to watch people - it is so intriguing.

This specific Sunday, I watched a particular family arrive. They quickly stopped to pick up their church bulletin and headed to their “assigned” seats. I noticed a big smile on the face of the youngest member of the family, as he yanked to break away from his mother’s hand. I watched this young man connect eyeball to eyeball with a woman already seated in the congregation. The boy made a beeline right over to this woman with open arms and gave her a big hug. She immediately smiled and graciously returned the hug. I thought to myself, “Oh, how nice that is. The woman must be a relative or a former neighbor. Someone respected.”  

The service commenced and during the sermon the “hugged” women turned her head and I quickly recognized her as a Senior Corps Foster Grandparent. It was Grandma Joann sitting there in front of me. That young man must be a relative to her.

Church concluded and everyone exited the church in the usual mass huddle.  

I came to be side–by-side with Grandma Joann, so I asked her, “Was that handsome young lad you were hugging a relative of yours?”

Feb 8, 2018

By Debbie Basile, Project Director - Lutheran Foster Grandparent Program

It was Sunday morning and I began the usual routine: I stretched in bed; arms flung outward; groaned a bit;...

AmeriCorps VISTA has 3,000 opportunities nationwide for you to go where you’re skills, talents, and experience are needed - in communities, fighting poverty. You may not have thought to search in Wyoming, but here are 10 good reasons to consider serving in the Cowboy State:

1. Go find your park! We have an abundance of public lands. Between 2 National Parks, 12 State Parks, 5 National Forests, & 1 National Monument, there millions of acres to explore. (Photo credit: NPS.gov)

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2. Local nonprofits need your help! Recent downturns in the coal, oil, and gas industries, have led to the loss of an estimated 25,000 jobs. Local nonprofits are struggling to meet the gaps and keep up with the need, and that is where some of our AmeriCorps VISTA projects fit in. 

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3. Get outside! We have year-round recreation opportunities such as: hiking, hunting, biking, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, fishing, and more! 

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4. Eat Local. From fresh produce to wild game to cutthroat trout, our cuisine is as local and as fresh as it gets.

Jan 16, 2018
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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
AmeriCorps members were driving, in a basic white van.
But their stockings weren’t hung; no, not with care.
They’re on a new mission, going to who knows where.

They had to be tired, many nodded their heads,
But when duty calls, everyone misses their beds,
This assignment was special, it came in a snap,
“Santa needs help; grab your boots, grab your cap!”

I looked out my window; wondering “What’s all the fuss?”
My wife and kids were sleeping, those folks need to hush.
All these people in khakis, branded with S’s and A’s,
But others came with them, I didn’t know what to say.

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The snow was falling; I had just come home,
Three tours of duty; no more need to roam.
Christmas might miss us, but we had each other,
Here, just four of us gathered, along with my mother.

All of a sudden, an SUV tore ‘round the corner;
It stopped in our drive, out popped folks with hand warmers;
The front door flung open and who did appear;
It was a special Team Leader, in green khaki gear.

Dec 22, 2017

 

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Service experience helps man overcome unexpected homelessness

By Dominic Gonzalez

As an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with San Antonio’s Department of Human Services, I spent 12 months as a Research and Engagement Coordinator helping understand the families we serve and developing the professionals who engage them. My background prior to AmeriCorps VISTA encompassed work with impoverished populations, at-risk youth, homeless families, and abused children.

My own story, however, took a hard turn when I came to rely on the services I used to provide. While battling epilepsy, I wound up living at a homeless shelter where I was once employed. My former colleagues became my service providers.

Dominic Gonzalez”The takeaway from my experience is simple yet profound: We can still give to others even if we have nothing for ourselves.“

I was homeless for 16 months. While living at the homeless shelter and becoming healthier, I volunteered to wash and fold blankets in the shelter’s industrial laundry room for a stipend of $10 a day. At the end of my evening shifts, I would push about 800 blankets to a gated courtyard where a staggering number of homeless people were lined up to claim them. Each day, the soiled blankets would be reclaimed, counted, washed, and redistributed without question.

I found other opportunities to volunteer at my shelter. I tutored and mentored two homeless high school students (who both graduated from high school that spring); helped people write resumes; took disabled men on their errands and doctor’s appointments; and assisted the staff in completing day-to-day tasks. 

Dec 19, 2017

Highlighted Blog Posts

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  Service experience helps man overcome unexpected homelessness By Dominic GonzalezAs an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with San Antonio’s...

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The members and volunteers who serve in CNCS programs provide vital assistance to organizations.

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