Here’s How AmeriCorps Service Changes You

We asked former Members from the United Way AmeriCorps Program how AmeriCorps helped shape their lives and careers and here is what they had to say: 

Erin Morrissey: 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Member,  LEAP for Education Teen Center, Salem

Serving with United Way’s AmeriCorp Program after graduate school helped me develop as a strong leader and team Member. After my service with the United Way AmeriCorps Program program, I moved to the greater Washington, DC area to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, which is a service position only available to individuals who have served previously as an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps Service Member. There are only about 250 Leaders in the country. I currently oversee approximately 40 service Members serving on anti-poverty projects across Washington, DC, Maryland, and Delaware. I would not have been as prepared to be a strong leader to effectively guide Members through their service without the support I received in my service in the United Way AmeriCorps Program.  

Lindsey Duff: 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Member, Witchcraft Heights Elementary, Salem 

Going into the program having majored in psychology, I imagined that I would go into school counseling. However, my experiences during my year of service made me fall in love with teaching. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity it gave me to serve in a school full time and build relationships with so many inspiring educators. By the end of the year, I was confident that I would be going into education. As a result of getting a year of experience in the classroom, I was able to get my current position as an instructional aide in a 2nd grade classroom in Cambridge Public Schools. I am now applying to Master’s programs in Elementary Education and plan to also get an additional license in teaching ESL. 

 Kaelyn Thompkins: 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Member, Salem High School, Salem 

Serving with AmeriCorps has influenced the type of legal career I wish to pursue and the activities I have taken part in while in Law School. Servingwith AmeriCorps taught me to see outside the stories we are told in the media and look at the stories of the individuals who we serve with. The students I tutored taught me about perseverance and hard work, that even when life gets hard, there is always a bright point to work towards. Those students striving attitudes lead me to look at pursuing pro bono work for immigrant rights. AmeriCorps taught me that everyone has a story to tell – a unique struggle and a want for a better life; however, as a society, we do not listen to these stories. I want to help give a voice to those working through the legal system as immigrants, to make sure their struggles and wants are told, as well as, help them find a place within this country that they have worked so hard to get too. AmeriCorps also taught me to persevere even when times got tough. While my year in AmeriCorps was There are moments where the amount of work and cases seem emotionally toiling; however, thanks to AmeriCorps, I have learned how to persevere through those hardships and strive to grow and become a better lawyer. AmeriCorps taught me how to persevere through difficulties and look beneath the surface to better understand a person or issue. 

Kelly Aldinger: 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Member, Witchcraft Heights Elementary, Salem

Through my experience with United Way’s AmeriCorps program, I met some of the most authentic, driven, and justice-driven people I’ve ever met. Students and adults alike empowered me to be bold and courageous, get out of my comfort zone, and take risks.  Seeing the operations of a school from the inside and the sheer dedication and commitment of teachers inspired me to more seriously consider teaching as a profession. I saw firsthand how education can change someone’s trajectory for the better and prepare them to be an agent of change in the world.  After a year in the United Way AmeriCorps Program, I enrolled in a MAT program for teaching ESOL and began applying to ESL teaching positions. After several positive interviews and offers that I never would have felt confident enough to apply to without the growth and development offered by the UW AmeriCorps Program, I accepted a position in a public school as an elementary ESL teacher.  AmeriCorps helped me develop in leadership, self-reflection and continual growth, in personal empowerment and the empowerment of others, and the building of equity in education.