AmeriCorps Week

 

I am probably one of the few people who can say that they originally joined AmeriCorps for the money. When I was in college, I was offered the chance to apply for Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania, a part time AmeriCorps program for students, where I had the opportunity to serve 300 hours in Allentown, PA. Being involved in community service, I jumped at the chance to get a scholarship for serving my community. My first term of service was so successful that when I graduated from college it made sense to apply for a full time AmeriCorps term.

 

Even though I started my first term of service because of the scholarship opportunities, I chose to serve a second term for the different opportunities and experiences you gain from serving a small non-profit. I started my second AmeriCorps term in September 2011 at Jersey Cares. I currently serve as the Corporate Service Coordinator where I work with the External Affairs department to create service opportunities for our corporate sponsors.

At Jersey Cares, I have had the opportunity to be a part of and accomplish many aspects of event planning as I am involved in every step of the planning process. To start out the process of service projects, I go on site visits every week; I get the opportunity to meet up with non-profit agencies that we are looking to work with. I have the chance to tell them about Jersey Cares and we can discuss possible partnership opportunities. After doing a site visit I coordinate projects with our corporate sponsors at the agencies that I have met with. It always feels great to go back to an agency that you have worked at. You feel a connection to the community, whether you went there on a site visit, you sketched a mural for a previous project, or you have staffed other projects there.

I am glad I have had the opportunity to be an AmeriCorps. Over the course of two terms I have learned a lot of different skills and built connections with many different organizations. Even though I am still debating if I will serve a third term as an AmeriCorps, I am proud to have served the two terms that I have.

 

Maggie Bernhard

Corporate Service Coordinator

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