For AmeriCorps Week, Recognizing the AmeriCorps Members Supporting Points of Light’s National Service Programs
During AmeriCorps Week, we celebrate the service of 80,000 AmeriCorps members currently serving communities across the nation, and the service of more than 1 million AmeriCorps alums. As part of this celebration, Points of Light has recognized five outstanding AmeriCorps members who are serving or have served in our Ready Corps, Frontline Families, Financial Opportunity Corps and ServiceWorks programs – each one receiving a Daily Point of Light Award in honor of the impact they’ve made on the communities they serve.
Joining AmeriCorps after college was a natural fit for Shannon Gillen, who has been volunteering all her life. Shannon became the first Financial Opportunity Corps member at the Service Collaborative of Western New York in Buffalo, where she helped develop their financial coaching program in partnership with local agencies. Shannon now recruits and supports volunteer financial coaches, and is developing a program to help prepare high school juniors and seniors for the financial realities of going to college or moving out on their own. Read Shannon’s story.
With ambitions of becoming a firefighter, Zach Bentley joined Ready Corps to work alongside the fire department on projects that would benefit the community. Serving at the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross, Zach helped revive the community events team, recruiting volunteers and matching them with opportunities. Most recently, Zach helped coordinate the annual Home Fire Prevention Campaign in the North Texas region, which engaged three fire departments, 10 agencies and 250 volunteers to reach more than 2,300 homes – installing smoke detectors to help prevent fires. Read Zach’s story.
National service is an essential part of Jaime Waterbury's family. The daughter of a retired Army colonel, she served two tours in Iraq with the Air Force and her husband is currently serving his fourth. After transitioning from active duty to Air Force Reserve, Jaime joined Frontline Families to continue serving her community. She is now "stationed" with the local Red Cross at Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, Georgia, where she helps recruit, train and support volunteers. Ready Jaime’s story.
As a scholar in the ServiceWorks program at Boston Cares, Raquel Rios felt empowered to use her voice and become a leader in her community. After graduating from the program, she returned as a ServiceWorks VISTA member to help inspire other young people to get more engaged. Leading by example, Raquel helps teach the program participants that they shouldn’t feel stuck in one place – no matter what. Her experience on both sides of the program has fueled her passion for helping others, and she looks forward to a career working with youth to implement change. Read Raquel’s story.
LaRhonda Boone, now an AmeriCorps alum, served as a ServiceWorks VISTA with JerseyCares. Under her guidance, the program’s ServiceWorks scholars created a video about gun violence that youth in their community could relate to – discouraging them from participating in gang life and suggesting alternate opportunities to pursue. LaRhonda has built a career around service, joining the JerseyCares staff as a manager for both their ServiceWorks and Agency Relations programs. Read LaRhonda’s story.