How do you say volunteer in Swahili?

Experienced AmeriCorps and VISTA staff agree: "To recruit an ethnically diverse team, it's important to learn about other cultures!"

Addell Anderson, Program Director of the Michigan AmeriCorps Partnership in Detroit, MI works with many cultures in her city. This program has grown to include at least eight graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Michigan that annually serve nearly 40 diverse nonprofit organizations, primarily based in Detroit.

Click the play button to hear her talk about the importance of building relationships with members of different communities.

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Part of learning about a culture is "getting" how it talks about volunteering. Not all languages have a word for "service," but most have a tradition of volunteering.

Khouan Rodriguez is the Project Director at the AmeriCorps ACCESS Project in Greensboro, North Carolina. ACCESS Project seeks to help refugees and immigrants gain better access to human services, build bridges with mainstream society, and become economically self-sufficient. For the 2007-08 service year, their 67 members represented 14 countries and spoke 14 different languages.

Click the play button to hear Rodriguez talk about how different cultures define volunteering.

The above video may include external links to Youtube’s video platform. Youtube’s privacy and security practices and policies may differ from CNCS'. CNCS is not responsible for these links nor does it endorse the content of the third-party website (Read more).

Research is another way to learn about a new culture. Anderson's program serves a population that is one fifth Arab and Chaldean. After she realized that many of her staff and corps members were not familiar with these cultures (and made false assumptions about them), she did some research and put together a fact sheet on recruiting members from the Arab and Chaldean communities.

Recruiting Members of Arab and Chaldean Descent (PDF) provides Anderson's fact sheet and explains how she made it.


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