In celebration of AmeriCorps Week 2017 (March 4-11), Points of Light is recognizing some of the outstanding AmeriCorps members who currently serve or who have served in our Ready Corps, Frontline Families, Financial Opportunity Corps, and ServiceWorks programs.
LaRhonda Boone is an AmeriCorps Alumn who continues to give back to her community in many ways, including managing and mentoring current AmeriCorps VISTAs.
Starting her journey as an AmeriCorps VISTA with ServiceWorks, LaRhonda was based out of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network Affiliate JerseyCares, leading a group of ServiceWorks Scholars in the community who initially felt they had no hope, no options and couldn’t do anything to change the community.
“I’ve often visualized my scholars as glowing embers; a tempered heat, reserved, uncertain and at times even uninterested, but you can still see a glow, however faint,” said LaRhonda. “Depending on their circumstances and perspective, some are also quite charred but it never bothered me. I knew that the flow, coupled with the realization that someone genuinely cared about what they had to say and about their thoughts on issues in their community could actually make a difference. ‘The embers will glow until they catch,’ I once wrote. ‘And then there will be fire.’”
While brainstorming for their capstone project, LaRhonda encouraged her Scholars to think about what they could do here and now to make a difference in even just one person’s life. They came up with the idea to make a video about gun violence that other youth could truly relate to, and presented it to 120 students in the community. They even had former gang members come and speak about alternate options to gang life and ways to create better opportunities. LaRhonda says all she did was “fan the flames” when her young Scholars got excited.
After this incredible experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA, LaRhonda has continue to give back to the community and create a career where she consistently gives back. After her time as a VISTA was over, she joined the staff at JerseyCares and now manages both the ServiceWorks program as well as the Agency Relations program.
From a member of the national service program to a member of the local community, LaRhonda continues to give back and encourage youth to improve their life through service. She said her work just confirms what she already knew, “That is that embers do glow. Embers do catch so that there is fire. And fire, well — it spreads.”