Most CAC AmeriCorps Members spend their service year in focused association with their sponsoring organization, perhaps developing their strongest relationships with the supervisor, staff, and clients. But several partnering entities have more than enough work to go around, the means of supporting that work, and, from this, the opportunity to develop well-functioning, tightly bounded crews. These include the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Beardsley Farm, Knox County Storm Water, and University of Tennessee Recycling. It was in 2010 that Jay Price, the UT Recycling Manager, welcomed in the first AmeriCorps State/National Members, and the number has grown since, expanding to include a VISTA Member in the 2017-2018 service year, capping the current total at 5. Such is the comradery that forms in this group that requests for serving a second year with the same Members has become commonplace.
Before this year, the partner organizations and their respective AmeriCorps Members in our VISTA program have been building organizational capacity to provide economic opportunity, training, and resources to populations who experience significant barriers to employment. Other sites have been concentrating on creating healthier futures to our most food insecure and isolated members in the community, including seniors, children, and the homeless. These efforts proudly continue and are being added to by two new sites, Girls, Inc. and Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, dedicated to combating poverty through one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal: EDUCATION.
To fully convey the feeling of beginning my year with AmeriCorps, let me describe for you my journey to Knoxville, Tennessee. It began with a 13 hour drive and ended with me standing in front of a dilapidated looking house, one which I probably wouldn’t have chosen if I had been able to see what it looked like before I signed the lease. Standing in front of this house, in a strange city, it dawned on me that everything about this year could take me out of my comfort zone.
Before doing Americorps, I had applied and been accepted to do Peace Corps in Madagascar. After deciding it was not the right time for me to uproot and ship off to a foreign country for two years, I looked at local options that would allow me to serve the community I was already a part of. I had heard about CAC Americorps in Knoxville through volunteering at Beardsley Community Farm. I did some research and liked that the program was run by a local organization that was extensively integrated into the community. Continue reading “Two Years Strong”
Article Author: Jason Scott, CAC AmeriCorps Program Director
As I approach my 3-year anniversary as CAC AmeriCorps’ Program Director, I reflect on the journey over the last 3 years and the elements that have defined the people, texture, and tone of my service in this role and offer some advice to members and those who choose to become servant leaders.
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.