Hello there! My name is Jillian, and I am the new AmeriCorps Program Director at Project Homecoming. I am also an AmeriCorps alum, having served a year each with Project Homecoming and Habitat for Humanity. When I joined AmeriCorps I was essentially uneducated and unskilled, but I knew that I had the fire in my heart to pursue one simple purpose: I wanted to help people. Ultimately, I wanted to change the world. Through my AmeriCorps experience, I gained a tremendous amount of perspective into how change is made– that as individuals, we all have the potential to become the movers and shakers of the world.
AmeriCorps members come from all walks of life. Many choose to join after they graduate college, but that is certainly not always the case. Some are older, some are younger, and they come from a variety of backgrounds. But they all have one thing in common: people choose to join AmeriCorps because they see it as an opportunity to change the world they live in.
Of course, as Americans we have become conditioned to expect immediate results from our work. But any AmeriCorps alum will tell you that that is often not the case. Change is a constant, ongoing process, and one that does not always produce immediately visible results. AmeriCorps members in the construction field have the benefit of regularly seeing the results of their work: We framed that wall. We built that ramp. We laid that tile. But organizations such as Project Homecoming rely on all of our parts functioning together as a whole to achieve our purpose.
For our AmeriCorps members who work out of the Volunteer Village or office, the signs of change are often more slow and subtle. Sometimes a successful day is just making it through back-to-back appointments and meetings, a trip to City Hall, a pile of paperwork, and an inbox full of emails. It is on those days that we need to remind ourselves that we are all contributing to the mission of our organization; that all of the roles AmeriCorps fill are absolutely essential to Project Homecoming’s success!
Without our Homeowner Advocate and Community Liaison, we wouldn’t have the ability to connect the people we serve to the resources that we provide– indeed, the entire reason for Project Homecoming’s existence.
Without our Village Managers, we wouldn’t be able to organize and support our weekly volunteer groups, volunteer labor being at the core of how we do what we do– to continue to rebuild quality, decent, and affordable housing.
Without our Work Site Managers, we wouldn’t have the leadership and skill necessary to build those homes. Work Site Managers leverage our volunteer labor, which makes it possible for us to take on more projects in more neighborhoods.
In an ideal world, we could eliminate the need for nonprofits altogether because there would be equal access, opportunity, and justice for all people. And so that is why we are all here. The need for change is real; even more real now than ever.
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a part of something bigger than yourself, then I urge you to consider joining AmeriCorps. It’s an opportunity to test yourself, to get thrown into extreme and often unexpected situations, and discover your potential in new arenas. It’s an opportunity for organizations like Project Homecoming to expand, tapping a new group of people each year who bring new skills, new ideas, and new perspectives to the table. And Project Homecoming continues to grow thanks to all of the hard work and dedication of our AmeriCorps team. We all have the ability to become agents of change, and that is the common purpose that brings us together.
Project Homecoming is now recruiting AmeriCorps members for the 2014-2015 service year! To find out more information and how to apply, click here!