Last week, five AmeriCorps alumni received the Congressional Gold Medal Award in Washington, DC. In our post last week, we talked a little bit about their work with the program, but we thought it would be fun to get to know them a bit better.
Amidst all the celebration, we stole them away for some quick interviews and will be sharing their thoughts on service, inspiration, and volunteering with you this week.
Up first, Daniel England.
A native Floridian, Daniel England had seen his share of hurricanes and found himself with a passion to promote disaster preparedness education and awareness. While with AmeriCorps NCCC in 2009 he developed a manual for families and individuals that addressed potential disasters that could hit Palm Beach County.
What inspired you to become an AmeriCorps member?
It was the particular program that was being offered through the college that I was attending at the time. My personal experiences in natural disasters -- most notably two hurricanes in three weeks during the Florida 2004 hurricane season – had left an immeasurable impression upon the importance of effective disaster preparation, mitigation and recovery upon me. The AmeriCorps program aimed at developing disaster policy and procedures for local nonprofit organizations in my area, and was thus of great interest to me.
What would you tell individuals thinking about applying for AmeriCorps?
It is totally worth it! You may (and will) have ample questions. Don't let knowing all the answers stop you from starting the program. For those who are just starting the program, use all of your unanswered questions to make your experience the best it can be, both for you and for those that you are serving.
Every experience you will have participating in AmeriCorps will be more rewarding than ever imagined.
What would you say to encourage Americans to make service a part of their everyday lives?
I ask people: What do you love to do? Why do you love to do it? Would you want more people to know about it? Would you like to work with people who love it just as much as you do? Why not volunteer somewhere doing just that.
It really is that simple. Everyone loves something. And everyone will spend their time and energy doing whatever that something is. I just point out ways that they can work with and teach the things they already love.