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Americorps Story 7-30-15

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Volunteer Impact

One of the Corporation for National and Community Services many programs is Americorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).  Americorps NCCC strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.  Americorps NCCC is a full-time team-based residential program for men and women age 18-24 who are assigned to one of five campuses in the country and then dispatched out to assist non-profits and local municipalities.

AmeriCorps NCCC is built on the belief that civic responsibility is an inherent duty of all citizens and that national service programs work effectively with local communities to address pressing needs.  AmeriCorps NCCC members serve for a 10-month commitment in teams of 8 to 12 and are assigned to projects throughout the region served by their campus. They are trained in CPR, first aid, public safety, and other skills before beginning their first service project.

OKUMC-DR has hosted two Americorps NCCC teams during the 2015 spring storms disaster response phase.  Combined these 19 young adult volunteers served 31 home owners with 1,953 man hours totaling $41,891.85 in volunteer labor.  We sat down with one of these teams at the end of their stay to learn more about the team and their passion for service.

Alex is the team lead for this group of 10 from Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Connecticut, Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, and Maryland.  Prior to coming to Oklahoma they served multiple locations in Mississippi where their team’s campus is located.  The team stated that they volunteer because they enjoy helping families rebuild their lives and strengthening communities, but another benefit they found for volunteering is for perspective.  This 10 month experience has given them a unique look at how easy life is to take for granted and an insight on what is truly important in life.

Meeting people and seeing the impact disasters have on people’s lives they state is a motivating factor in volunteering.  The team helped one disaster survivor that could barely get around and another who was scheduled for surgery but was having to part with most of her keepsakes, both grateful for the assistance the team provided.  A couple other disaster survivors that stuck out in their mind was a pecan farmer in the Kingston area whose grandfather had built the house and had markings on the door jamb of all the kids heights who had been raised in the house.  The other was a man in Bridge Creek who offered them tomatoes from his garden and shared stories about himself while expressing his gratitude for all their help.

One of the main tasks this Americorps NCCC team had in Oklahoma was mucking-out homes.  Mucking-out involves tearing out sheetrock and insulation from a flooded home and then spraying the wall studs with sanitizer.  Often the floor and cabinets have to be removed as well.  Helping the home owner remove their belongings and sort through what is salvageable is a hard but much needed task volunteers can help with.  These two AmeriCorps NCCC teams of young adults provided a great service to all the home owners they helped and took away some blessings they will carry with them for years to come.

Alex hopes to become a firefighter and paramedic and then join the Red Cross or other traveling relief organization.  Brandon would like to get into radio broadcasting in the field of sports.  Caleb is planning on joining the military to be in the Marines Recon or Navy Seals.  Elizabeth has a degree in Ecology and will be moving to Utah to work with the Forestry Department or USGS.  Evan plans to join another AmeriCorps NCCC team.  Jasmine wants to do social work at the state or national level.  Parker wants to be a structural firefighter.  We wish each of these volunteers the best as they continue to peruse their desired areas of interest and pray they never forget the lessons learned here and will forever be involved in volunteer opportunities serving those in need.