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Post-Halloween Edition 2013

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In This Issue
1. Stepping Up During the #Shutdown 2. AmeriCorps Alums Virtual Grad School Fair
3. Member Spotlight: Teresa Palomo Acosta 4. Links and Updates

Stepping Up During the #Shutdown                                

The October Shutdown brought bitter bipartisanship to Washington DC, which then rippled outward and impacted core functions across the United States. In the midst of a conflict which seemed so disconnected from the needs of Americans, it also put a spotlight on the best of what national service builds in individuals and communities. On October 1st as the government shutdown began, AmeriCorps members kept serving, including over 2000 AmeriCorps VISTA ‘standard’ members whose modest stipends were put in limbo. With little information on what was happening or how long the shutdown would last, Alums began to step forward asking for ways to help. ( interview in the midst of the shutdown)

Faced with adversity, we will persevere

VISTAs, like Christine Thomas from Birmingham, Alabama, continued to serve and support the over 350 attendees (27% of whom were veterans or veteran family members) of the career fair she had just organized the week prior.   Even as the shutdown put her family finances under serious stress, she remained resolute: "I live an outward-looking life that is not worried about my situation right now, but focused on the needs of others and how I can respond to those needs.”

During the 16 day shutdown, more than 200 organizations representing over 1000 VISTAs across the country reached out to AmeriCorps Alums for support during the shutdown. Some members were worried about phone bills and utility payments.  Others were simply seeking community from the alumni network that would uniquely understand their struggles.  VISTAS serving at Red Cross, Habitat Affiliates, and small housing and economic development nonprofits in over 20 states were met with immediate support.

AmeriCorps Alums chapter leaders in 20 cities quickly mobilized as well, raising their hands to say "we want to help support local AmeriCorps VISTA members, as they continue to SERVE communities during the Shutdown.”  Ranging from morale boosting happy hours, to potlucks and canned food drives, to gift card disbursements and bill payment assistance.  The generosity and community spirit of the Alums network really shown through – best reflected by this thank you note that was sent to our North Texas (Dallas) area chapter:

North Texas Chapter co-president Dhri Pandya shared "We provided hundreds of dollars in assistance, and many more Alums offered support even after we had reach our fundraising goal." The Washington DC Chapter similarly sprung to action to provide emergency support to VISTAs impacted and collected $1,050 worth of gift cards and to support 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members. Special shout outs to Atlanta, Baltimore, Bay Area, Connecticut, Midcoast Maine, San Antonio and all the Alums chapters that stepped forward during this chaotic time for our country. When we begin our service with AmeriCorps, we pledge to bring Americans together to strengthen our communities… this year and beyond. The strength of the AmeriCorps community spans programs, years, and cities.  And again during a time of crisis, the national service community showed again what it means to wear the ‘A’ of AmeriCorps.

In Service,

Ben Duda

Announcing The AmeriCorps Alums Virtual Grad School Fair

One of the most important areas concerning Life After AmeriCorps is the use of your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. AmeriCorps Alums is proud to announce the launch of the AmeriCorps Alums Virtual Grad School Fair, an event that will connect you to a wide variety of graduate schools and programs that offer special incentives specifically for AmeriCorps members and alumni. The event is a great opportunity to learn about schools committed to national service that offer financial incentives which allow you to maximize your Ed Award.  The event will occur on Thursday, December 12, 2013 from 1PM to 5PM Eastern time.  Best of all, the event is FREE to current AmeriCorps members and alumni. You can register or learn more here.

Member Spotlight: Teresa Palomo Acosta

The AmeriCorps experience is filled with inspiring and unique stories.  The caliber of individuals within the AmeriCorps Alums network never ceases to amaze us, and recently, another inspiring story came our way from Teresa Palomo Acosta, an AmeriCorps Alum who served from 1996-1998.  You see, Teresa's amazing journey of service can be traced back to the 1950's in the segregated town of McGregor, Texas.  Her bilingual upbringing was to play a major role in her AmeriCorps experience.

Recently, Teresa penned a blog for AmeriCorps Alums where she discussed how being bilingual impacted her life and how her AmeriCorps experience inspired her poetry; another incredible aspect of Teresa's story is the fact that she decided to serve in AmeriCorps after becoming a successful author and poet!  You can read Teresa's blog and story here.


Get the gear at the AmeriCorps Alums Online Store!


Get lower insurance rates with GEICO and AmeriCorps Alums!


Links and Updates

AmeriCorps Alums: Register for the AmeriCorps Alums Virtual Grad School Fair

AmeriCorps Alums Blog: Government Shutdown Response

North Texas Chapter: North Texas Alums Get Things Done During Shutdown                         

CNN: Small Stipends for AmeriCorps Volunteers Take Big Shutdown Hit

Huffington Post: AmeriCorps Training Stalled by Shutdown


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