Michele showing the leveler added to a beaver dam

Why I Joined and Stayed with Americorps

Author: Michelle De Franco, CAC AmeriCorps Member at Keep Blount Beautiful (2020-22)

Hello there, I’m Michelle De Franco, and I want to explain why I joined Americorps. 

When I first joined, it was September 2020. Looking back now, that feels forever ago when I joined it was at the peak of COVID-19, I didn’t think it would affect my service term, but it did drastically. During the pandemic, my experience was changed due to covid regulations but that didn’t stop the work that needed to get done! After I graduated with my bachelor’s, I wanted to further my community experience outside volunteering for my local ambulance corps and do more out in Tennessee; that’s why I applied to Keep Blount Beautiful. I remember during the interview process talking with Lauren Bird and feeling absolute nervousness because I wanted this position more than anything. I knew I had what it took to get this position. Once I had my interview with Brittney, I had thought, what could I say that would make me more compelling for this position? Thankfully I have many years of experience with childcare; the position I was interested in had to educate students about the environment. I just knew that’s what I wanted how we can improve it. However, my position was more than just that I wanted to widen my horizon, now with this experience, I have developed new qualifications, like litter prevention, social media outreach, education, and so much more. 

My experience at Americorps and KBB has been one of the best experiences in my belt; I was able in my first year to communicate to the Blount County residents through social media, cleanup events, fundraising. I knew that a year of service wasn’t enough for me to gain what I wanted; I wanted to gain more involvement with the community and continue eliminating litter. We have an essential duty. Our mission at KBB is to encourage and educate the community to improve and beautify their community; I’m so proud to be a part of this and know the work we do will continue. That’s the best award of them all, knowing everything we have and will accomplish, it will stay and be known. As an Americorps alumn, I will never forget my two years of service. It has been extraordinarily beneficial; I will take with me to future positions moving forward, and if I ever need anything, I know I’ll have my cohort. Thank you for my years of service, and I will take my knowledge with me on my next journey. I hope when I leave my position that the growth of Keep Blount Beautiful expands!

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.