How #AmeriCorps Works for Sarah

Article Author:
Sarah Anderson, CAC AmeriCorps member 2015-2016 with introduction by CAC AmeriCorps Program Director, Jason Scott

When Volunteer Tennessee, our state AmeriCorps commission, asked CAC AmeriCorps to submit the profile of a stand-out member for AmeriCorps Week, everyone in the CAC AmeriCorps office felt very strongly about spotlighting Sarah Anderson.  Sarah has demonstrated tremendous initiative, perseverance and composure as she has worked with an uncharacteristically high degree of autonomy to advance the work of Keep Sevier Beautiful with creativity and passion.

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Sarah at the Keep Sevier Beautiful Office.

What motivated you to serve in AmeriCorps?

Since early high school, I knew that I wanted to serve as an AmeriCorps member upon graduating college. I developed a passion for community service by participating on multiple service trips, including an Alternative Spring Break creating trails through the Appalachian Trail Club, and volunteering at a crisis hotline for three and a half years. I believed that AmeriCorps was the perfect opportunity to address the needs of communities and combat inequalities by engaging in domestic action.

What drew you to serve with Keep Sevier Beautiful through CAC AmeriCorps?

I was first drawn to the CAC AmeriCorps position in Sevier County because of my love of National Parks and hiking. I grew up very close to Great Falls Park in Virginia and spent many summer days hiking to the waterfall at Scott’s Run. The proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Keep Sevier Beautiful’s partnership with the National Park was a major motivation for me to join CAC AmeriCorps and I have been very grateful to work towards protecting the environment in and surrounding Sevier County.

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During Orientation, Sarah finds herself in the North during the Personality Compass Activity. Natural Leader, Goal-Centered, Assertive and Decisive.

What are some of the most stand out things you’ve done so far this year?

 

As Program Coordinator at Keep Sevier Beautiful, I have organized over 20 community events including litter cleanups, fundraisers, tree plantings, and recycling projects. I have also taught over 500 Sevier County students about recycling and stormwater pollution, written multiple press releases highlighting KSB’s environmental efforts, and created promotional and educational materials in English as well as Spanish to engage with community members.

Since moving to Sevier County to serve with CAC AmeriCorps, I have enjoyed hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, coaching soccer, exploring Knoxville and surrounding cities, and participating in many CAC AmeriCorps service projects and community events.

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Sarah & Alanna with Keep Knoxville Beautiful at a Beautification Mob

What kind of skills have you developed or refined?

I have taken on tremendous leadership roles by organizing and executing community outreach events. My ability to recruit and manage volunteers has been enhanced throughout my service year. By organizing events aimed to serve specific organizations, reaching out to local businesses, engaging with students, and recognizing volunteers for their accomplishments, I have helped over 600 volunteers give back to their community through Keep Sevier Beautiful projects.

A concrete example of impact, such as specific project/deliverable or relationship with a client

My role in organizing an environmentally focused Fall Festival engaged thousands of residents and guests with Keep Sevier Beautiful’s environmental mission. The Fall Fest was a zero-waste event that provided educational crafts and games to hundreds of Sevier County students and featured awareness pieces that focused on litter prevention and recycling. I played a significant role in organizing the event and recruiting volunteers.

3Plans for life after AmeriCorps, including how AmeriCorps has changed the member’s plans for future education or employment.

I am planning to serve another term of AmeriCorps next year. I hope to use my Education Awards to pursue a PHD in English. AmeriCorps has revealed a broad range of careers that I would enjoy and has influenced the subject matter that I hope to study. I plan to study English with a focus on feminism and the environment and then pursue a career in public service and activism, either through a non-profit or as a professor. AmeriCorps has fueled my passion for serving my community and I am excited to take the skills that I have gained in CAC AmeriCorps to support my future endeavors.

Learn more about Keep Sevier Beautiful!

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This blog post is a collection of personal reflections and expressions. All opinions represented are those of the author and do not represent the official opinion or views of the Knoxville – Knox County Community Action Committee, CAC AmeriCorps or any other party referenced.