Americorps Week May 14th-21st

May 16, 2011

This past Saturday, May 14th was the start of Americorps Week. AmeriCorps Week highlights AmeriCorps‘ impact in communities across the country in order to motivate more Americans to join AmeriCorps or volunteer in their communities. Today’s Americorps story is written by Willie M. Bolden, an Americorps Alum and now the Program Coordinator for the Intern and Volunteer Office at Points of Light Institute.

My AmeriCorps story begins in the fall of 2008 when I decided it was time to seriously begin my search for employment.  Prior to this, I had never heard of AmeriCorps, HandsOn Network or Points of Light.  By chance, I learned of AmeriCorps through some postings on idealist.org.  I began applying to them as I saw positions that interested me.  I was also considering the Peace Corps at the time.

In late November, I was contacted via email by the Affiliate Advancement Team to schedule an interview.  After a series of phone interviews, emails and faxes I was offered a VISTA position to start in February, 2009.  I went through my Pre-Service Orientation and met Jesse Salinas and Zack Brown for the first time.  It was really nice to finally meet them after months of talking via email and phone.

I began my work with seven different tasks for the year.  One of the tasks included developing and managing an internal volunteer program.  I began to dig in to this role very deeply with support from my team, organizational management and also with support from members of HandsOn Atlanta.  It was very intense and brief education but the program was finally launched after its initial pilot in April of 2009.

The program quickly grew and by December of that year we hosted our first volunteer recognition event with over 70 volunteers and a dozen who had earned Presidential Volunteer Service Awards.  We brought in people from all over the Metropolitan Atlanta area with a diverse set of skills, interests and backgrounds.  It has been a truly exhilarating learning experience and continues to get better and more interesting every day.

I’m truly grateful to the organization for the confidence it has placed in me, for the support I have received in doing my work and for the truly great people that I work with everyday including staff, volunteers and interns.

I have grown tremendously from this experience and can truly say that my AmeriCorps experience has propelled me into a position of service beyond my wildest expectations.  I continue to serve and work with Points of Light and am excited to see where we grow next!”