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 … Continue reading Why I Joined and Stayed with Americorps
Author: Olivia Whatley, CAC AmeriCorps Member at Sevier Solid Waste (21-22) My time serving with AmeriCorps at Sevier Solid Waste (SSWI) emphasized to me the importance of the little steps that it takes to make something big happen. Some days it was easy for me to forget the point of putting a “Keep it Out” … Continue reading Small Actions, Big Effects
Article Author: Lane Mochow, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member (21-22) I have spent the past couple of days visiting sites around Knoxville to see the daily lives of my fellow AmeriCorps and photographing my experience. It has been beautiful being up close and personal with my new friends’ service experiences. The first site I went to … Continue reading Glimpsing the AmeriCorps Experience
Whether it’s to gain professional experience in a career field, to spend a year gaining “Real World” experience before going back to school, or simply to take time to serve a community, everyone has their own motivations for embarking on an AmeriCorps journey. Often, members find that throughout their year of service their motivations change, … Continue reading The Service Learning Initiators
CAC AmeriCorps’ first-ever Service Symposium, June 3rd 2021, celebrates the continued resilience and perseverance that members have shown and continue to show as they navigate their year of service. Resilience and perseverance have always played key roles in the AmeriCorps experience, but this year, they were essential to the success of our members. Many met … Continue reading Service Symposium 2021
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Our Corps is large and members serve the local community in a wide variety of ways. Take a look at the following list to get a snapshot of just some of the ways members have gotten things done for East Tennessee. 1. Cassie and Rachel (UT Office … Continue reading 27 Ways CAC AmeriCorps Members Served East TN in March
By Michaela Barnett, Alum 2017-2018, Founder of KnoxFill In early 2017, I was feeling adrift. After quitting a job in the service industry, I craved purpose and connection. Readers of this blog won’t be surprised at what happened next to fill those two yearnings – I found an AmeriCorps posting on a jobseeker’s website. It … Continue reading KnoxFill – An Alum Story
by Michael Sears Many of us can attest that finding housing in today’s market can be not only stressful but also difficult. The additional challenges of being low-income and homeless complicates the search even more. Born out of a community needs assessment, the United Way of Greater Knoxville launched the House Knox initiative in June … Continue reading The Path Home
It takes a village, they say, and just one example of this put into practice is the garden at Pond Gap Elementary School where the quantity of hands, heart, and thought directed toward converting an unlikely hillside into an edible classroom and community space is impressive. The origins of this can be traced back to … Continue reading Mind the Gap
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.
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
Now into its fourth year, the CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Program has grown from 11 host sites with 12 members to its current 20 host sites and 25 members. Each year, the baton of personalized support and guidance is passed to each successive VISTA Leader, and this transition bids a fond adieu to one and a … Continue reading VISTA – 4G
During this unprecedented summer, four amazing women stepped up to the plate and spent their time as Summer Associates serving in several local nonprofits. Their combined efforts helped to serve hundreds of people in the Knoxville community during their two months of service. Though today is their last day, their accomplishments will continue to impact … Continue reading Summer Associates Say Goodbye
All of our CAC AmeriCorps members are spectacular and get great things done and we love them all. But there are those who ascend above even such a high bar, and on June 15th, 2020, we gathered at the Parkway Drive-In Theatre in Maryville, TN to give them the recognition they deserve while maintaining social … Continue reading And the Winners Are …
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
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
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
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.
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
by Connie Flachs I woke up in my new Knoxville home, rolling off the tattered mattress pad serving as my temporary bed onto the laminate wood floor, covered in a layer of dust. What was this barren room? I had left my comfortable, cozy, love-filled Michigan home to move South and start a new adventure, … Continue reading Homemaking to Placemaking
Article Author: Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2015-2018 One of the roles of CAC AmeriCorps staff is to conduct at least 2 yearly site visits for all of our members. While the idea of a “site visit” from program staff might seem intimidating, the true purpose of these is to check on regulatory requirements … Continue reading A Day in Cherokee National Forest
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
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.
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
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
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
As evidenced by the number of pet pics many of us carry on our phones, our furry companions provide love, loyalty, supportive hugs and snuggles, a touching dependency, and hilarious hi-jinx. They inspire, amuse, rescue, comfort, and complete us, and this day is dedicated to giving them the recognition they deserve. To all our best … Continue reading National Pet Day: April 11
By Jason Scott For National Pet Day (April 11th) I wanted to reflect on the role that cats played in my second year of AmeriCorps service back in 2007. It was the winter and I had relocated to Jacksonville, Florida in January for my second term of service with Florida State Parks.
Article Author: Megan Geer, serving at Ijams Nature Center (2018-2019) What made you decide to join AmeriCorps? Was it what you thought it would be? When I decided to join AmeriCorps it was very much an opportunity to boost my resume with actual work experience in a field that I had no experience in. It … Continue reading Self-Discovery through AmeriCorps Service
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
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
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
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
Article Author: Austin Reynolds, CAC AmeriCorps 2016-2018 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 … 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 … Continue reading One Word.
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
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
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
Article Author: Kay Shanda, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2017-2018 Keep Sevier Beautiful (KSB) has been providing me with smiles and laughter since the day I stepped into the office to start my AmeriCorps year with them as their Program Coordinator. For starters, the office I stepped into was not going to be our office for long, … Continue reading Environmental Service with a Side of Smiles
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
Article Author: Michaela Barnett, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member 2017-2018 I spent some time this morning googling variations of “how to write an impact narrative.” It should be a simple task: list the work I have undertaken since arriving at my site and extrapolate on the impact of said work. I was told that I could … Continue reading Tenacity: A Narrative of Invisible Work
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
Article Author: Deidra Rogers, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member 2017-2018 Since the start of my AmeriCorps VISTA journey, I have had an eager heart to serve and be of service to those who are in need. What better way to do this than by assisting with making a difference in the life of a community helping … Continue reading Small Access with Huge Impacts
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
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
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 … Continue reading Expect the Unexpected with National Service
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.
Article Author: Kellie Hill, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017 CAC AmeriCorps has given me the opportunity to move to a city in which I never thought I’d live, and serve a community that has grown so close to my heart. I am incredibly grateful for the way that CAC AmeriCorps allows me to connect with a … Continue reading Dirty Hands, Clear Mind
Article Author: Kevin Ridder, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017 Before I kick this post off, let me ask you my all-time least favorite question: where do you see yourself in five years? If you think you know, congratulations! If you are now filled with a raw, seething hatred, you’re not alone. I couldn’t even tell you … Continue reading Searching for Certainty
Article Author: Isaac Hopkins, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017 Hello, my name is Isaac Hopkins and I am a current member of CAC Americorps. I fill the position of crew member on the Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park Wildland Fire Module.
Article Author: Jason Scott, CAC AmeriCorps Program Director & AmeriCorps*NCCC Alum, 2006 On a warm February day I had the pleasure of sitting down with the members of AmeriCorps*NCCC team, River 7, to discuss their service year thus far and to get a sense of how they are enjoying Knoxville and their service at Ijams … Continue reading AmeriCorps*NCCC, River 7 at Ijams Nature Center
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.
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
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
Article Author: Anna-Lise Halford, CAC AmeriCorps member 2012-2013 “I start class again tomorrow, actually.” “Mmhmm, just a couple of classes. And labs.” “Including organic chemistry. Yep.” “Ha, thanks. I’m glad to be starting back.”
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…
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
Article Author: Joseph Konvicka, CAC AmeriCorps member 2015-2016 If you’re reading this post, you may know a thing or two about me. I am writing this to those who do not know me or do not know me well. While I have become more socially connected to others during my terms of service, I am … Continue reading Water you doing?! The Story of Two Years of Service!
Article Author: Rachel Newcomb, CAC AmeriCorps member 2015-2016 As a young kid my favorite part of my family’s weekly routine was when my mother would pull the car into a parking lot between a Food Lion and a store bearing a cow wearing 3-D glasses. This wondrous place was called MOOVIES and it’s where we … Continue reading Curing Inaction
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?
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
Article Author: Ariel Allen, Staff & CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2014-2015 Featured Image by Ariel Allen When tasked to find an applicant to round out our 40 member corps for a manual labor position working with the Aslan Foundation, someone like Christine Doka wasn’t immediately who came to mind. Envisioning the paper towel legend “Brawny-Man” was, … Continue reading A Woman in a Brawny Man’s World
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
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…
Article Author: Joshua Cunningham, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2011-2012 Now and again, when I am telling one of my favorite stories (said stories usually glorify me in someway that adds to my mystique and appeal as an adventurer), I have to stop myself and roll the words around in my mouth for a bit. It isn’t … Continue reading All My Favorite Stories
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..
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.
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
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
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
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