By Alyssa DePlonty
Member’s grandfather served in historic New Deal program
The time was approaching – my undergraduate graduation. And like most 22 year olds in that position, panic was setting in: “What was I thinking, majoring in liberal arts?” My job search then started anew with a different focus; gone were the museum jobs I was only partially qualified for. My new focus would be something I always enjoyed, working with the community and others.
That search led me to the AmeriCorps webpage, where I spent more time than I’m willing to admit reading all that I could about the available jobs and their focus on community service and involvement.
It soon became apparent that AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) was modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was instituted as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. My grandfather was a part of the CCC in Michigan, and his service did indirectly impact my decision to join NCCC.
I had grown up being a history buff and understood that he played a role in the rebuilding of a nation and the more I read about NCCC, the more I became intrigued by the job and its connection to my grandfather and American history as a whole.
I applied to NCCC, wanting to make a difference and find a connection to my nation, and to my grandfather as well. I was accepted as part of Class 18 in the Southwest Region Campus in Denver, and my service was underway!
Through NCCC, I served in Joplin, MO, for disaster relief for the six-month anniversary of the May 2011 tornadoes. In Farmington, NM. I served the Boys and Girls Club. Marycrest Assisted Living Home in Denver, CO, was my third project. And my last adventure was a split project: one month in Yuma, AZ, repairing and painting outdoor awnings for the city and the second month living in the mountains of northern Arizona serving with the National Park Service.
I can easily say that being a part of NCCC was one of the most-rewarding, yet challenging, experiences of my life thus far. It made me the person I am today; I owe my team building and handiwork skills, as well as my confidence as an adult to my service.
I would be a much different person today, if not for my service and the lessons I learned there.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is celebrating the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps and highlighting the theme of environmental stewardship during the month of April. For more information about the 20th anniversary, please visit the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Resource Center.