VISTA Member Spotlight: Meredith Abercrombie

Article Author:
Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2013-2014

Meredith has had one busy year. Her site, the University of Tennessee- FUTURE Program, is a postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that empower participants to achieve gainful employment in the community and have their own college experience. Continue reading “VISTA Member Spotlight: Meredith Abercrombie”

Power of Kindness and Persistent Inclusivity

Article Author:
Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps 2014-15, CAC AmeriCorps Staff

VISTA member Hannah Freeman’s numbers might be small, but they are mighty. But sometime the quantitative doesn’t paint the whole service picture. It merely provides an outline. The qualitative is what gives experience it’s richness.   Plus, part of the qualitative includes Hannah rubbing elbows with the mayor and dressing up as a pea at a local community event.

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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.

Continue reading “Irreplaceable”

From Kevin Morris, CAC AmeriCorps Member to Kevin Morris J.D

Article Author: 

Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 | Assistant Program Director | Friend & Admirer of THE Kevin Morris 

I recently attended my fellow alum, who I served alongside in 2014-15, graduation from law school. Yes, Kevin Morris is one of those painfully exceptional people who is kind, smart, athletic, talented, generous AND – to my amazement- still one of my best friends 4 years later. Sitting with other friends whom we also met through AmeriCorps, we listened and read about his accolades: graduated in the top 20% of his class, over 100 hours of pro-bono work volunteered, immediately rushed to the aid of families in crisis during an immigration raid in a nearby rural community (please watch him SERIOUSLY DELIVER in this video. Preach Kevin. Preach). Only then did we fully realize the magnitude of his accomplishments.

 I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase his journey. Sorry it’s taken so long to realize just how amazing its been, Kev. So this is my tribute to him- my good friend- Kevin Morris JD.

Continue reading “From Kevin Morris, CAC AmeriCorps Member to Kevin Morris J.D”

Butterflies, Buffers, and Bioswales: a Year in Stormwater

Article Author: 
Cassandra Davis, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2016-2017


On an early morning in May, I donned my monarch butterfly cloak with feathered antenna and headed out to talk to 900 excited raindrops about how wetlands improve water quality by removing pollutants.  Water Palooza was a station at WaterFest, a water quality festival for hundreds of students at Ijams Nature Center, where students pretended to be raindrops as they picked up metaphorical pollutants from urban, agricultural, residential and industrial stations. I was a wetland butterfly at the final station where the “raindrops” cleaned off their sediment, toxins, bacteria and trash. WaterFest was one of the many educational events during my term I will fondly look back on.  A year ago this would have been an anxiety inducing event for me. I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly before my AmeriCorps term. Being a Knox County AmeriCorps member has given me the confidence to pursue my career and personal goals.


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Expect the Unexpected with National Service

Article Author:
Lauren Parker, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2015-2016 ; 2016-2017

I wish I could say that my introduction to AmeriCorps was born from a burning desire to improve my community and engage in environmental service. It was the result of a hasty post-graduation job search as I knew my laboratory technician job at UT had an imminent expiration date.

Continue reading “Expect the Unexpected with National Service”