Since the beginning of February, I have been serving as the Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member at Michigan United Conservation Clubs(MUCC).
Last week was Michigan’s AmeriCorps week and since the beginning of my service term, I have encountered quite a few questions and I thought it was an appropriate time to answer the most common of them, What exactly is AmeriCorps?
The official answer from the agency that runs AmeriCorps, the Corporation for National and Community Service is “AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more.”
AmeriCorps members make a commitment to serve their community and each member must take the following pledge before beginning their service term. ” I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done. ”
Each AmeriCorps program has a different focus on what type of work is done in the community. There are currently 29 programs here in Michigan with roughly 1,700 individuals serving, compared to 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving nationally. The Huron Pines AmeriCorps program has been around since 2007. Its program mission is for members ” to enhance Michigan’s natural resources and foster environmental stewardship by engaging local volunteers, community groups and schools in service projects, hands-on learning opportunities, and educational workshops.” I am one of the twenty-two members of this year’s program. We are spread all over Michigan, from Lansing to Grayling and there is even a member up in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
I cannot speak highly enough about my AmeriCorps experience with the Huron Pines program and MUCC. I feel very fortunate to be serving with MUCC as I have gotten the chance to learn from individuals who are passionate and serious about protecting Michigan’s natural resources. The highlight of my service so far has been meeting the amazing and selfless volunteers who have shown up to improve wildlife habitat at MUCC’s On the Ground(OTG) and On the Water (OTW) events. I am excited about the rest of my service term and getting things done. I would encourage folks if they were interested in learning more about AmeriCorps or Huron Pines to check out the links below.