This week (March 4th to 11th) is “AmeriCorps Week” – a national celebration and recognition of the extraordinary contributions of the some 80,000 service members currently active throughout the country, as well as the approximately one million AmeriCorps alumni. Since 1993, AmeriCorps members have collectively served 1.4 billion hours throughout the U.S.
As a brief explanation, AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), was founded in 1965 as a domestic version of the Peace Corps. The program was incorporated into AmeriCorps and renamed AmeriCorps*VISTA with the creation of AmeriCorps in 1993. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is the federal agency that oversees the AmeriCorps program, and here in Massachusetts the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA) administers the AmeriCorps state program, including our team here at UTEC.
At UTEC, we are in our ninth year of AmeriCorps and have had in total about 100 AmeriCorps members serve with the UTEC family in a multitude of roles over the years. Our current AmeriCorps members, for instance, are providing much needed ‘hands-on’ service in our social enterprises, in our HiSET program, at Café UTEC, and much more. There’s no doubt that UTEC’s many programs and services would not be as vital without the critical contributions of our AmeriCorps members.
Throughout AmeriCorps Week, there are a number of UTEC traditions for recognizing our AmeriCorps team, including special “Fresh Inspirations” activities with the young adults and fun spontaneous surprises from senior staff, also know as “AmeriParents.”
Another highlight of the week is the annual AmeriCorps Alumni Dinner, where past and present UTEC AmeriCorps members meet and reconnect. While alumni share pieces of advice from their service year experience, current corps members confirm that we at UTEC still do at least one “mood check” per day. The legacy of both AmeriCorps and UTEC is strong, as reflected in how many alumni are now active in the fields of public service, social justice, and youth work.
During AmeriCorps Orientation and AmeriCorps Opening Day, when members officially begin their service work, every member takes the following pledge:
I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
Interestingly, many of these words closely align with several of UTEC values, such as being “a catalyst” and “chipping away,” which refers to relentlessness in pursuing positive change. During these uncertain times our hope is that our AmeriCorps team can continue to unite people while simultaneously strengthening our communities. #AmeriCorpsWorks
To view a brief video on what it means to be an AmeriCorps member at UTEC, <a href="https://click here.
PLEASE NOTE: UTEC is currently recruiting for the Year 10 AmeriCorps team, so if you (or someone you know) are interested, please contact Miguel Quinones at
Source: Lowell Sun