Article Author:
Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps 2014-15
Gordon Harless, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA 2018-19

As for why AmeriCorps, Gordon Harless currently serving at CAC Housing & Energy, would say that he chose to serve for selfish reasons. Yes, he wanted to help and give back to the community and society in general, but mainly because doing so made him feel better about himself. Service in AmeriCorps VISTA was almost a reset button for his life, both professionally and personally.

to the left

Prior to joining, Gordon was stuck in a rut; he was working in a career path that he did not intend to be in and the only other pathways he had for career growth were for things he had no passion for. VISTA was his hard left turn, putting himself on a path towards a career in public service working towards economic and social justice. Like Beyonce, he chose to go to the left, to the left and hasn’t looked in the rear view mirror since.

Since beginning in August 2018, Gordon has helped 93 individuals receive housing placement services through a weatherization program that helps reduce utilities bills and rate of illnesses due to poor air quality, temperature regulation and ventilation for individuals. He has helped the application process become more streamlined, provided additional resources to inform, and leveraged in-kind donation all to help widdle down the staggering waitlist of clients in need.

Gordon bringing his irreplaceable smile and enthusiasm to our MLK Day of Service 2019

Choosing to do a second year, this time as VISTA Leader, is a continuation of that path. Serving as a VISTA Leader will help build skills with management and leadership, an area he has been looking to expand on his CV for years. It will expose him to a wide array of service sectors and provide networking opportunities with those areas. He’s sure this year will throw plenty of curveballs his way, but he looks forward to the growth and the chance to put his rut further in the rear view mirror (and in a box to the left).

beyonce 1

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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.


Published by

Jason Scott

CAC AmeriCorps Program Director Since 2015.