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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Samantha Jo Warfield

By: CNCS StaffTo mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we’ll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.Question: What went through your mind when you first landed in Joplin?Simons: Despite having driven through the night to arrive the morning of the 23rd, I felt energized and ready to face the uncertainty that would be coming. I joined my team, who had arrived a few hours before, and stepped up to fill the holes that had not yet been met. While adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I actually felt a sense of calm because my team and I were prepared to get the process of our response started. Things were coming together in those first few hours by simply utilizing the resources and knowledge we had brought from our St. Louis office. We were getting things done.Question: Tell us about the moment that touched you most.Simons: While we had thousands of inspirational volunteers in Joplin, but a few really made an impact on me. One young man, Toshi, traveled from Japan to volunteer with us. While his community was still recovering from the terrible earthquake earlier that year, he devoted his time in a town he had never heard of: Joplin, Missouri. He was paying forward the American support that flooded to Japan after its disasters.While Toshi left us several inspirational stories, he told me that he wanted to take what he had learned in Joplin back home and create a volunteer center, one that would be ready to respond during a disaster. This led me to look back at my personal service trips to New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and how those volunteer trips influenced me. They inspired me to continue serving and to lead others into service in hopes that they will bring it back home with them.Question: How are you continuing your service?Simons: I signed up for a second year [in AmeriCorps] because I feel in love with AmeriCorps St. Louis and want to see it succeed. I want to continue to be a part of a program that had accomplished amazing things in the short time I had been serving. Being such a member driven program, I also felt that there was even more to gain from signing up for another year with AmeriCorps St. Louis.Question: How have you changed? What skills have you gained since first arriving in Joplin?Simons: My service during the Joplin Tornado response pushed me in to roles of responsibility and leadership that I couldn’t have ever imagined for myself. Now, I feel confident that I can and will succeed when I am faced with a challenge or opportunity that seems a little far out of reach.Question: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? How has your service in Joplin influenced that vision?Simons: I am currently researching graduate programs in Public Administration with an emphasis in Emergency Management and Nonprofit Management. I hope to become a facilitator of change in our county. The Joplin response definitely had a big part in paving this path for me by allowing me to work directly with our State and Federal Emergency Management partners.

Keywords: AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster, Joplin, Missouri
Volunteers at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., have contributed more than 32,00 hours of service to the community. Celebrating 50 years of service, the hospital established the Sibley Heart Pillow Project this year to provide heart-shaped pillows to breast cancer patients for use after surgery.
To honor the first annual 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rebuilding Together partnered with United We Serve to distribute 50,000 outreach bags filled with energy efficient savings information in 19 states.
A DC resident joins the President and First Lady by honoring the victims of September 11, 2001 through service.
I’ve done everything from coordinating search and rescue activities to cleaning up and carrying out the trash. After a transfer to Hugo, Colorado, my latest unique volunteer opportunity began.
In 2005 I left a successful career in tv advertising to join the staff of A Child's Place of Charlotte, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping to erase the impact of homelessness on children and their education.
The Lemon Lounge, a community project inspired by one little girl's dream to find the cure for childhood cancer, has raised nearly $1,500 for pediatric cancer research.
Today, girls face many obstacles. Girls in the Game empowers girls to overcome challenges. Game Day events introduce girls of all ages to different sports and fitness activities while teaching leadership, nutrition, and life-skills.
I am a mentor for the Y-FRIENDz Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program with YMCA Youth & Family Services in San Diego. For the past year and a half I have mentored a now 10-year-old girl who has both parents in and out of prison.
EPA's ENERGY STAR and Boys & Girls Club offer Dallas homeowner a youthful energy check-up.
In Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, local youth groups have stepped up to lead local community renewal efforts.
For the first time ever, I felt I was doing something with a purpose and in turn it gave me a sense of worth and meaning. Up until then I had felt like I was a burden to people around me. Whereas at the event, I felt like I meant something to someone and was doing good for those around me. I then immersed myself in volunteer work.
This halloween International Hand Foundation a non profit charity focusing on education would like introduce "Treat for Good", a halloween program that has kids reaching out for more than candy but for a life lesson in compassion for a child across the world.
The high cost of energy in rural Alaska prompted a VISTA member serving with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program to look into using the local hot springs as an energy source.
The adjustment from Brooklyn to Ajo, AZ was made easier when Maria embraced her responsibility to her community and herself.
By tagging on to the President’s initiative and encouraging service this summer, we have engaged people in community service work to help make it a part of the everyday lives of all Americans with a hope that they will make an ongoing commitment to each other, their communities, and volunteer work throughout their lives
Tay-bandz, an nonprofit organization founded by a young cancer patient, raises public awareness about childhood cancer and funds for research.
It started with one woman’s belief that helping kids learn to read would make a difference. A flight attendant flying for one of the major airline carriers on 9/11, LeeAnn Butler-Owens was prompted by the loss of friends and coworkers to examine her part in making the world a better place. By combining her interest in early childhood development with a love of music and the arts, Butler-Owens started by developing a children’s musical audio book.
Creating a New Path is a Learn and Serve America sub grantee at CASMAN Alternative Academy in Manistee, Michigan. Students at the school recognized a need for a better place to walk dogs instead of down a dirt road.
I became certified as a Guardian ad Litem in Marion County, Florida in April 2009. In case you are not familiar, guardians are volunteers that are appointed to cases where children have been removed from their homes by DCF due to abuse/safety conditions. It is our job to be the voice for the children in the courts and advocate for them.
I have been battling some medical conditions. I use to be flat in bed for five and a half and now live with daily chronic pain. However, I have been sending all handwritten letters to the troops since Nov. 2000.
Jobs and homes have been lost, but if Dr. Alan Singer can help it marriages will not be lost to this recession. Dr. Singer, a family therapist in central New Jersey, volunteers his services on the weekends for couples hard-hit by the recession.
Twenty-five Foster Grandparent volunteers in Hamilton, Bradley and McMinn counties participated in an educational campaign to share basic character traits with students in their classrooms.
I volunteer at a community Food Bank which serves approximately 2,000 people a week's worth of groceries each month. The need for food has increased about 35% in our community.
October has been a milestone in our Chapters history with the signing of a "COMMUNITY COVENANT" by our Chapters 1st Vice President, John Snyder, and the Commanders of American Legion Posts 129;316.233; VFW Post 3270; and FRA 290, along with the Mayors of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach.
Shafia Clinic is a community-oriented alternative for people who cannot afford medical treatment. Operated by a volunteer team of physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, Shifa Clinic also receives generous donations from the community.
Staff members from The Hitachi Foundation and Hitachi, Ltd. in Washington, DC spent the 9/11 Day of Service with Covenant House.
Crenshaw High School opened in 1968 in the historic Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles. Students here face more than the normal teenage dramas; they also deal with shifting cultural alliances and the threat of gang violence. 85% qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program. Out of these difficult circumstances, the Crenshaw Eco Club has risen to become the largest and most ethnically diverse club on campus.
This year during Ramadan, right before the start of the United We Serve Interfaith Week of Service, the Interfaith Committee at my church, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, organized an iftar (dinner to break the Ramadan fast) for members of local Muslim communities. More than 60 Catholics and Muslims attended the dinner, a turnout far surpassing our expectations.
To most people, digging up dirt and spreading mulch may not sound like a good time. However, that’s exactly what over 30 volunteers of all ages at RAF Mildenhall UK Air Force Base did in early September when they came together to create a remembrance garden for armed services veterans.
Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Kathy Calvin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the UN Foundation educated students about malaria and encouraged them to work within their communities to help prevent the deadly disease.

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