Rachel’s Reflections


First-year member Madi Nelski Interviewed fellow member Rachel Incorvati about her life during service with AmeriCorps. This blog is a reflection of that interview and an insight into the life of an AmeriCorps Vista serving in East Tennessee.

Outward Bound


The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. – Emily Dickinson August 3rd, CAC AmeriCorps staff welcomed over 60 new and returning members to the beginning of their service year with a week-long, mostly virtual Orientation process. While this may have not been the typical orientation the corps is used to, … Continue reading Outward Bound

Waste Naught


By Annalisa Tarizzo The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Sustainability works to Make Orange Green by promoting a sustainable and equitable campus community. We take pride in our role as part of the state’s flagship land-grant university and our responsibility to mitigate the social impacts of climate change. Through student engagement and collaborative programming, … Continue reading Waste Naught

Trash & Treasure


Article Authors: Annalisa Tarizzo, 2018-2020 CAC AmeriCorps Member Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2015-2018 Annalisa Tarizzo is a CAC AmeriCorps member currently serving a second term with the University of Tennessee, first with UT Recycling and now with the Office of Sustainability. 1. Tell me about your role within the University of Tennessee Office of … Continue reading Trash & Treasure

Essential Service


By CAC AmeriCorps Staff As the world contracts, keeps its distance, and holds – or at least masks – its breath, there is much that’s still in need of tending. The motto of AmeriCorps is, “Getting things done”, and CAC AmeriCorps, its partner organizations, and its members have creatively adapted, improvised, and remained resolute in … Continue reading Essential Service

Service at any Stage or: How I learned to stop worrying and love AmeriCorps.


I love AmeriCorps. I love the people in it, the people it serves, the people leading it, the people doing it, the AmeriPets, the AmeriGear, the AmeriSpirit, I love the whole darn thing. Specifically, I love CAC AmeriCorps. I love it because my experience serving here has fundamentally redefined the trajectory of my life, even … Continue reading Service at any Stage or: How I learned to stop worrying and love AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps responds to Opioid Crisis, Nationally and Locally


Article Author: Gordon Harless, 2019-2020 CAC AmeriCorps VISTA LeaderAshley Gustafson, CAC AmeriCorps 2019-2020 VISTA MemberCameron Henshaw, 2019-2020 CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member All across the country, communities are suffering from the effects of the opioid and substance abuse epidemic. Over 72,000 people died from drug overdose in 2017 alone, and even now in 2020, 130 people … Continue reading AmeriCorps responds to Opioid Crisis, Nationally and Locally

Chasing Conservation through ConServe Knoxville


Article Author: Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2015-2018 A year of service through CAC AmeriCorps can look different from person to person. Depending on your service site, you could be engaging in anything from hiking to remove invasive plant species, performing environmental education, or building capacity through the office or organization you are serving … Continue reading Chasing Conservation through ConServe Knoxville

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.

The Challenge of Encouraging Environmental Awareness and Design


Article Author: Mariah Lowry, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2018-2019 Ever heard of the Biophilia Hypothesis?  The theory was initially proposed by biologist Edward Wilson and suggests that human beings possess an innate desire to form connections with nature and other forms of life and this connection, in turn, promotes healthier lifestyles.  A quick internet search inquiring … Continue reading The Challenge of Encouraging Environmental Awareness and Design

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 … Continue reading Power of Kindness and Persistent Inclusivity

Irreplaceable


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 … Continue reading Irreplaceable

Behind the Scenes – Randall Eaker


Article Authors: Christine Doka & Randall Eaker (CAC AmeriCorps 2018-2019) The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been a cornerstone in East Tennessee since the 1930s. The TVA Act, which created TVA, was part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal to help residents of East Tennessee recover from the Great Depression through employment, access to electricity, and … Continue reading Behind the Scenes – Randall Eaker

The Acclaimed Reclaimers


Article Authors:  Marlee Jennings, Annalisa Tarizzo, Sarah Clark, Megan Finan, & Leah McCord 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 … Continue reading The Acclaimed Reclaimers

Empowering Community through Education


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, … Continue reading Empowering Community through Education

Life Begins at the Edge of Our Comfort Zone


Article Author: Alexis Jenkin CAC AmeriCorps 2018-2019 First Impressions 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 … Continue reading Life Begins at the Edge of Our Comfort Zone

One Word.


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 … Continue reading One Word.

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

Working Together Works


Article Author:  Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Member & VISTA Leader 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 in collaboration with Hannah Freeman, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA member 2017-2018. With a small staff but mighty power, the City of Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods is always looking for new and creative ways to engage community members to organically bring about the … Continue reading Working Together Works

Preparing Students for the Future – Preparing the Future for Them


Article Author: Stefanie Perosa, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA member 2017-2018 with introduction by CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Christine Doka Stefanie Perosa is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at UT FUTURE. Hailing all the way from the sunny state of Florida, Stefanie came to the East Tennessee hills to make a difference in the lives’ of others … Continue reading Preparing Students for the Future – Preparing the Future for Them

5 Things to Consider When Applying to CAC AmeriCorps


Recruitment season is in full swing here at the CAC AmeriCorps office! From the time we begin recruitment to the time we fill all the positions in our corps, our office can go through close to 300 applications. With that many applicants, the positions can be quite competitive. We all want each of our applicants … Continue reading 5 Things to Consider When Applying to CAC AmeriCorps

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 … Continue reading Butterflies, Buffers, and Bioswales: a Year in Stormwater

Alternative Farmers’ Market Currencies & Local Businesses


Article Author:  Sally Buice, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member 2017-2018 I’m spending this year serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Nourish Knoxville, a nonprofit organization working in the East Tennessee region to cultivate and support relationships between farmers, artisanal producers, and the community through outreach, education, and advocacy, and to build healthy communities through connections to … Continue reading Alternative Farmers’ Market Currencies & Local Businesses

Bridging Together Passion and Purpose


Article Author:  Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Member & VISTA Leader 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 in collaboration with Nicole Fernandez, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA member 2017-2018. For over twenty years, CAC AmeriCorps has recruited groups of people to spend a year of their life in service to East Tennessee. In the past, CAC has hosted a robust … Continue reading Bridging Together Passion and Purpose

As a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting.


Article Author: Jason Scott, CAC AmeriCorps Program Director & AmeriCorps*NCCC Alum, 2006 After spending some time with Weasel the farm cat on a rainy Thursday morning in April, I had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Caraco, a 2008-2009 alum of CAC AmeriCorps and the Assistant Urban Agriculture Director of CAC Beardsley Community Farm … Continue reading As a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting.

The Second Time is the Charm


Article Author: Nicole Stephens, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 I am very loud, I kind of have a filter, and I have always felt the need to speak my mind-even when it goes against what others are saying. If there were a “Most Outspoken” superlative in high school, I probably would have won.

A Massachusetts Yankee in the (not really) Deep South


Article Author: Emily Barbour, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 When I accepted a position with AmeriCorps in Knoxville one month after graduating from my small liberal arts college in New England, I had a lot of assumptions about what living in the South would mean. Now, depending on where you’re from, you might consider me a … Continue reading A Massachusetts Yankee in the (not really) Deep South

CAC AmeriCorps Louisiana Disaster Deployment – #DisasterServe


Article Author: Jason Scott, CAC AmeriCorps Program Director Based on the accounts of 2016-2017 CAC AmeriCorps members Alex Bonner, Sarah Carman, Christine Doka, Owain Heyden, Shannon Haines and Isaac Hopkins It is Monday, August the 15th.  It is the first day of service for our AmeriCorps members at their respective project sites.  6 of these members … Continue reading CAC AmeriCorps Louisiana Disaster Deployment – #DisasterServe

Food is Life


Article Author: Maya Carl, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2015-2016 Food is life. This is what I started my speech with on Mayor’s Recognition Day when people in the Knoxville community came to recognize Corps service and package almost 600 meals.One would think that a statement so simple could be easily understood…

Like a Boss


Article Author: Alanna McKissack, Executive Director of Keep Blount Beautiuful & CAC AmeriCorps Member 2015-2016 On my college graduation day, I like many others had no idea where my life was headed next. I had applied for numerous jobs and graduate school programs. None of which seemed to be working out for me. While graduating … Continue reading Like a Boss

What If?


Article Author: Samantha Stoklosa, CAC AmeriCorps member 2014-2015 & 2015-2016 As I approach the end of my second term as a CAC AmeriCorps member, the one question I ask myself is: “What if I had taken the other AmeriCorps position?” Before I talk about this “oh so important question,” I need to back up a little … Continue reading What If?

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 … Continue reading How #AmeriCorps Works for Sarah

An AmeriCorps Journey Through Emails: A Story of Rejection


Article Author: Ariel Allen, Staff & CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 With the approaching new year, in the thick of the nostalgic post-Christmas bubble, I started digging through my old emails and began piecing together a story of my humbling past few years. Below is a compilation of excerpts from my actual emails that will not … Continue reading An AmeriCorps Journey Through Emails: A Story of Rejection

Gardens aren’t made, they’re grown…


Article Author: Ariel Allen , CAC AmeriCorps Staff and Alum 2014- 2015 Frank Callo joined CAC AmeriCorps in 2006 as a father, a gardening advocate and recent grad.  Four years later his son, Matt Callo, would literally follow in his dirt-stained footsteps. I sat down with father and son and asked about their experience with … Continue reading Gardens aren’t made, they’re grown…

It was exactly what I was looking for.. and exactly what I needed..


Article Author: Katie Walberg, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 Imagine an art student, obsessed with the implications human development has on our natural resources, coming out of graduate school and searching for a job. I thought teaching college art courses would be the next logical step, but during the 2009-10 economic downturn these jobs … Continue reading It was exactly what I was looking for.. and exactly what I needed..

Every Monday Night


Article Author: Nickolas Seitler, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 Throughout my AmeriCorps term I met countless interesting people, helped plan events, and spent time making my community a better place.  And throughout all of it one of the most rewarding experiences was tutoring and mentoring at the CAC East center on Monday nights.

I Would Have Run For The Hills


Article Author: Justine Cucchiara, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2010-2011 & 2011-2012 If I had realized what I was embarking on when I applied to be an AmeriCorps Member, I probably would not have gone through with it.  I was in the midst of finishing a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee … Continue reading I Would Have Run For The Hills

Two Great Years


Article Author: Zach Johnson, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2008-2009 I, Zach Johnson, volunteered and completed two service years in Americorps which have helped me grow as a person during and after my completed service. Serving as an Americorps member has impacted my life positively in a number of ways. I made excellent professional, social, educational, and … Continue reading Two Great Years

My AmeriCorps Journey


Article Author: Maura Connolly, CAC AmeriCorps Alum, 2014-2015 A little over a year ago I packed up two suitcases and four boxes of my belongings and met them all in Knoxville, TN: a city I had never been to in a state I had never even driven through. My roommate whom I had never met … Continue reading My AmeriCorps Journey

A Thread Woven Through Time


Article Author: Jason R. Scott, Town of Farragut, Stormwater Coordinator, Site Supervisor AmeriCorps changed my life.  Nearly 10 years after my first term of AmeriCorps service, I can still say, without hesitation, I am the person I am today because of the unexpected opportunities I experienced because of this program.  This narrative is an account … Continue reading A Thread Woven Through Time