Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CalSERVES Visits Local Representatives

We had a wonderful visit with Congressman Mike Thompson.  We were able to share the impactful work of all CalSERVES, Napa County Office of Education programs.  He was so supportive of AmeriCorps and the wonderful work members like Celeste Fuller are doing in support of their communities. 

Sara Sitch, Me, Congressman Thompson, Lauren Serpa, Celeste Fuller

Celeste volunteered her time to share her experience with AmeriCorps:

"As an AmeriCorps member I work with the prevention services and career technical education departments at the Napa County Office of Education to strengthen volunteerism within their programs.  I've been able to recruit over 110 volunteers from across the community to volunteer with our various programs.

Through my position as an AmeriCorps VIP Fellow I have helped to co-facilitate a career exploration program called Roadtrip Nation, which helps students find out which career and educational paths they are passionate about pursuing. Many of the students in our program have faced incredible challenges in their lives and come from the juvenile & court community schools.  I've seen the students grow tremendously in the program.  They graduate from the program with strong public speaking skills, the ability to cold call professionals, and each student completes an interview with a community leader in their chosen career path.  Many of our students go onto college and are currently pursuing the careers or educational paths they explored in this program.

My service year has opened my eyes to the incredible challenges at-risk youth face and the barriers they must overcome in order to pursue their dreams and complete their education.  I am a more compassionate and understanding individual because of the AmeriCorps program.  In addition, I am also incredibly motivated to create positive change for at-risk students and to empower them to realize life-long career success through education.

I am currently applying to law school and the school of education to pursue a joint MA/JD in Law & Education.  I hope to become an education lawyer working to ensure equal opportunity in public education for all students. AmeriCorps is an amazing program that helps you grow as an individual.  I now have a greater understanding of the world around me and a passion to serve my surrounding community in a positive way.  I've also acquired valuable skills that will help me in my own future career path."

AmeriCorps Member Nikki Maci and the team with Congresswoman Lynn Wolsey
We also visited Rep. Lynn Woolsey who has been so supportive over the years.  Rep. Woolsey was involved in passing the legislation that first created AmeriCorps and she has a deep appreciation for its value. 

AmeriCorps member Nikki Maci also volunteered her time to talk to the Congresswoman about the work she does as an AmeriCorps Leader.

Nikki helps organize the work of 140 AmeriCorps members..."I work as a support system for the other AmeriCorps Leaders around the state of California.  I conduct monthly conference calls and regular check-in calls to make sure that things are running smoothly for the program, which builds volunteer programs and engages thousands of volunteers in service."

Nikki particularly loves days of service.  "These service days were a great way to see the immediate impact that I had on the community.  I really enjoyed working side-by-side with all of the CalSERVES AmeriCorps Members, getting things done for America!"

Nikki likes a challenge...."I decided that I would look at this year as a personal challenge for me to be more organized and a reliable leader.  I believe that I have grown in both areas this year and will be able to adapt those skills to any position I come across in the future."

Her service has meant so much..."Throughout my 10 months of service I have gained new skills, met a lot of fun and interesting people and had a great time!  I am proud of all the work that our entire organization has accomplished in such a short amount of time.  We have made a difference in so many children, families and community members' lives.  I am just really happy that I was able to be a part of it!"

I want to thank both Reps. Thompson and Woolsey.  It feels good to know that our leaders care so much about the work AmeriCorps members like Celeste and Nikki are doing in their districts.