Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Member?
I applied to AmeriCorps because it’s an organization that makes a difference. It provides me the opportunity to continue to assist individuals, work within my community and continue making a difference. When I applied to AmeriCorps to be a member I was considering coming out of retirement. I had spent 3 years taking care of my 96 year old uncle, my father’s brother. I had been a South Chicago resident since 1975 and have been predominately employed in Social Service work for more than 40. I continue to have a passion for helping others so I met with several organization representatives that I had the privilege of working with indirectly during my years before retirement. Claretian Associates–the lead partner agency in the South Chicago United Way Neighborhood Network–always stood out in my mind as an organization that I would like to work for, given the opportunity.
What United Way Neighborhood Network community are you placed with?
South Chicago working with lead partner Claretian Associates.
What is your role as an AmeriCorps Member?
My role as an AmeriCorps Member is to work in the South Chicago community as an instructor and be part of a framework that will be used to bring a range of community actors together to solve very complex social problem using a Collective Impact approach.
What have you learned in your role?
In my role I’ve learned that a professional always has more personal growth to acquire. I’ve learned to be flexible in the workplace environment which can change, but responsibilities are carried out the same way–at the highest level possible. I’ve learned who the people are that will carry on the work long after I am no longer with AmeriCorps or Claretian Associates. In trainings I’ve learned about The AmeriCorps Experiences, Communication Skills Improvement Techniques, Social Media Professionalism Do’s and Don’ts, Social Justice and how we are all impacted, Racial Equality, Life Map and I learned more about myself thru The Privilege Walk.
What do you want individuals to know about your Neighborhood Network community?
I want individuals to know that the Network consists of a total of 125 partners. I want individuals to know that the representatives of these networks are people who are unshaken from wanting to maintain their great communities and continue with a better quality of life in South Chicago and its surrounding communities.
What do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?
Implement the Neighborhood Network Capacity Building Workshops which will heighten the knowledge of Trauma, Adverse Childhood Experience, Art of Hosting, Mindfulness, Psychological First Aid, and Community Based Participatory Research on the Collective Impact Approach to help save the lives of our community residents in South Chicago and its surrounding areas.
What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program?
Prior to the AmeriCorps Program I had retired in June 2013 from a Domestic Violence program in South Chicago and dedicated myself to taking care of my 96 year old uncle.
Funding for AmeriCorps provided in part by Corporation for National and Community Service, and Serve Illinois / Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.