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The Life After AmeriCorps Times: Voices of the National Service Movement

by Ben Duda

As the Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums, the national network for all AmeriCorps national service alumni, I'm often asked how Alums are leveraging the AmeriCorps experience after their year of service. Today, we're launching a series on the Serve.gov blog to answer those questions and more.

The LAA (Life After AmeriCorps) Times will be a bi-weekly editorial featuring staff and volunteer leaders at AmeriCorps Alums. We will spotlight individuals, showcase Alumni happenings in the news, and provide professional development resources to help connect prospective and current members and alumni of National Service programs together as leading voices of the service movement.

AmeriCorps Alums is the only national network convening alumni of all AmeriCorps national service programs. Since 2005, AmeriCorps Alums has been an enterprise of the Points of Light Institute, an organization dedicated to building a community of experienced volunteer leaders committed to a lifetime of service. Alums are encouraged to fully realize their potential by building connections and engaging with others to create transformational change in their communities. Since 1994, more than 700,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps Alums have four focus areas:

  • Convene alumni in a local, all-volunteer chapter community to: network / build social capital, engage in community service, pursue professional development opportunities, and contribute as local leaders
  • Provide professional development and leadership opportunities through our national online community
  • Support individuals in their life after AmeriCorps with member benefits, as well as access to jobs and higher education scholarships
  • Harness the voice and inspirational stories of individuals in service, as well as their pursuit of a lifetime of service

My national service story started at Cornell University where I heard Senator Harris Wofford speak about the founding of AmeriCorps. I was inspired by the idea of giving a year of service to my country and by the opportunity to make a real impact.

After graduation, I spent two years serving in AmeriCorps NCCC, first as a Corps Member at the Capital Region campus in Washington and then as a Team Leader in Class VII at the Western Region campus in San Diego. My third term was part of a two year Fellowship with Citizen Schools in Boston.

Serving in AmeriCorps has been the most important thing I have ever done. It has provided me with powerful experiences and immeasurable personal growth, allowing me to meet unforgettable individuals, and serve in diverse communities across this country.

I'm thrilled that The LAA Times will be a regular part of the serve.gov blog. In our next post, we'll discuss how members can leverage their service experience in their careers. This includes ways to highlight AmeriCorps service on resumes and resources for professional development. We look forward to celebrating the great potential AmeriCorps members have in continuing to live a Lifetime of Service.

Join us every other Thursday for The LAA Times. You can also find AmeriCorps Alums on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Ben Duda is a three-time AmeriCorps alum and the Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums.

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