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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Samantha Jo Warfield

By: CNCS Staff

To 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: Joplin, AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster, Missouri
As a part of United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan worked alongside volunteers at the Cleveland Food Bank to prepare sandwiches for hungry children.
The Sons of Norway answer the President's call to service.
These local kids aren't letting summer pass them by - they're taking action to keep learning and to make their community better.
I know as I look back on this year, I will regard it as one of the most transformational experiences of my life.
A Big Brother volunteer in St. Louis helps out at the MLB All-Star Game
Working with other community organizations, businesses, the City Council, Solano County, faith-based groups, non-profits, WIA and colleges, I am happy to report that we are helping to develop youth training programs, which empower youth to finish school and get jobs. Solano Community College also plans to have a Green Center, teaching green job practices, which will lead to more jobs with livable wages.
One woman's personal satisfaction in service.
Young Sabrina was acting out and needed some extra help staying focused in school. Carol, a Foster Grandparent, is helping her make it through.
Volunteers from the Grand County Senior Center and member of the Delicate Stitchers Quilt Guild give "Children in Crisis" a sense of stability with Love Bags.
We all know the Red Cross responds to natural disasters through stories and pictures that generate horror, sympathy for lives that were lost or uprooted, admiration for selfless dedication of volunteers, and the dreadful conditions in which they worked. However, they were also remote, happening to other people in other places. In February of 2007, my concept of the Red Cross was forever changed.
Over 4,500 pounds of water chestnut were hand pulled from the pond in just one day, a volume of 14 cubic yards.
When Darius decided to boldly take action, he was able to make an impact in his life and the lives of countless others.
Rain or shine, we show up to parks on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons to read to anyone who wants to listen.
A week of volunteering in rural Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia opens Abraham's eyes and pushes him to serve in his own community and beyond.
The state of Oklahoma knows too well the devastation that disasters can cause. Whatever type of disaster, such as tornadoes, flooding, or terrorist attacks (such as the bombing of the Murrah Building) the physical, emotional and financial harm to people and property can be enormous.
On June 14, 2009 groups of volunteers emerged to “Go Beyond” and help clean and restore the baseball field and park surrounding the Roller and Recreation Facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
Over a six-week session 16 kids called the "Skilleteers" planned, filmed, and starred in a children's cooking show that now airs on CAT TV in Columbia, Missouri.
In the summer of 2006, saddened by the sight of local schoolyards that had been abandoned by children and occupied by troublemakers and drug users, Marco and Jennifer Chiappetta began reaching out to youth in their community. What started out as a single game of catch has evolved into a powerful mentorship program that is shifting the culture of their neighborhood. On Monday, July 20th the New York Yankees helped celebrate the Chiappettas as part of their HOPE Week.
Nearly 800 million people in the world cannot read. This is only one story.
Reports state that families of children with special needs are 80% more at risk for divorce, and the children are 30% more at risk for out of home placement. Respite days help families to cope with the stress of caring for these special children.
The NFL Players Association and its players have joined President Barack Obama in his mission to build a stronger nation through the “United We Serve” initiative, a national effort designed to encourage more Americans to serve their communities.
LHVA is currently building a 40-mile trail along the Lackawanna River. A mile and a half of it runs through Scranton and this section of the trail tends to be one of the dirtiest areas
On June 23rd, Nothing But Nets engaged youth in a global campaign to fight one of the biggest killers in Africa, malaria.
On Saturday, July 11th, over 300 volunteers turned out for the first of a year long monthly Downtown Skidrow Clean Up Initiative in Los Angeles.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knows how important early childhood literacy is. Do you?
In Minnesota, a collaborative of citizens has emerged to provide a forum for veterans to share their stories and begin the process of healing.
My name is Mitch and I am a volunteer fishing instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and an Anglers’ Legacy Ambassador. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Anglers’ Legacy Program is a nationwide mentoring program to introduce newcomers to fishing and boating.
“Will you marry me?” were the last words I expected to hear on my first day of volunteering with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN).
A group of 60 teens from 25 schools in Kentucky raises over $30,000 and does more than 3,000 hours of service each year.
After Hurricane Katrina, retired businessman Bill Groome wanted to help rebuild New Orleans, his home of 30 years, but knew his best talents were not in the carpentry or construction field. Operation HOPE provided him with the opportunity to put his extraordinary business skills to good use.

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