In March, Santa Maria’s Project Advance AmeriCorps joined hundreds of volunteers across Ohio to celebrate AmeriCorps Week and the valuable contributions of the AmeriCorps members who pledged to “get things done” in their communities.
“We are proud to be part of AmeriCorps and grateful for the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Ohio,” said Hunter Lang, Director of Santa Maria’s Project Advance AmeriCorps program. “AmeriCorps members have made a significant impact on Ohio’s ability to meet so many local needs in education, employment, health and housing, and AmeriCorps Week is a perfect opportunity to recognize their great work,” Lang said.
AmeriCorps Week also honors the contributions and support of local organizations that make AmeriCorps programs possible. In Cincinnati, AmeriCorps members are serving in the community by providing direct service to individuals in need of housing, education, health and employment assistance at local community service and nonprofit agencies.
Last year, more than 900 AmeriCorps members served at nearly 500 schools, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations across Ohio dedicating more than 1.2 million hours of service. These members were awarded more than $4.2 million in education awards to use toward continued education or student loan repayment.
Santa Maria AmeriCorps member from 2018-2019 and current Santa Maria employee, Rose Hamzy, said, “My time with AmeriCorps allowed me to gain perspective into the social services field through hands-on work, observation, and training. I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with an agency I’ve grown to love within my own community. Seeing students achieve their educational goals is such an exciting feeling, and I’m so glad AmeriCorps has allowed me to serve directly in the classroom. I’ll always be thankful for my experience with AmeriCorps.” Mary Pickett, also a current Santa Maria AmeriCorps member, added, “When I applied to be an AmeriCorps member, I honestly did not know what I wanted to do. So far, I learned I love teaching and I love helping people better themselves.”
These members have played a critical role in the recovery of local communities. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical needs.
A growing body of research shows that service affects more than just the communities served; it affects the members themselves. AmeriCorps alumni credit their year of service for developing leadership skills that bridges divides, solves problems and opens doors to opportunities that advance their careers and education. In addition, research shows that alumni gain skills and are exposed to experiences that communities and employers find invaluable.
AmeriCorps member, Tamaiya Wilson, said, “My position as an English as a Second Language Coach with Santa Maria has helped me get accustomed to unexpected changes, work on my flexibility and sharpen my communication skills. I love working with my clients twice a week and seeing them progress in skills and advance in class levels. It’s reassuring that the work and time I’m putting in is for a greater purpose.”
For more information on Santa Maria’s AmeriCorps program, go to santamaria-cincy.org/americorps-program/. AmeriCorps programming is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered locally by ServeOhio, the state’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism. To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit ServeOhio.org/AmeriCorps.