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 programs – each one receiving a Daily Point of Light Award in honor of the impact they’ve made on the communities they serve.
Daily Point of Light
In a small canvas tent inside a warehouse in Vasilika, Greece, five shoeless Americans silently huddled with an 8-year-old Syrian refugee and her mother. We were hiding from the Greek police, who had officially banned foreign visitors from entering the refugee camp, inhabited by 1,200 people stranded here after fleeing their countries. Beside me, my wife of three months, Lisa, was shaking with fear; we’d learned that we would be arrested if found inside, but we couldn’t resist visiting the “home” of our new friend, Helena.
As millions of refugees around our country and the world continue to strive for safety, freedom and opportunity, there are volunteers who act as points of light on the long and arduous journey to a better life. These volunteers give their time, talent and voice to refugees both at home and abroad, and serve as examples of the ways in which one can get involved.
From a young age, Tara Nierenhausen would bring “puppies, kittens, and people in need” home. “I was born with it,” she said. “I’ve just always cared. I see the good in people and I want to bring the good out in people.” This spirit and passion has followed her throughout her career, which she said is no longer just a career but her whole life.