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MARCH 2015: Stories That Matter                      
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1. Stories That Matter 2. Living as a Seed of Hope
3. Service Brings Out America's Best 4. Everything We Need to Know, We Learned in AmeriCorps
5. It's Okay to Make Some Trouble 6. National News Round-Up

Dear Alum,




We admit it. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest hashtag or viral video. Sometimes, they’re silly … but sometimes they’re really important. And what we really care about are stories that matter. And what matters? You do. Alums are real people, doing meaningful work. And so are the people we partner with to create communities that are safer, stronger, and healthier. At Alums, we’re dedicated to telling these stories — your stories — to each other and to new and different audiences.

This week, we’re thrilled that AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award winner Sondra Samuels’ story, “Living as a Seed of Hope,” was featured on the Huffington Post in partnership with The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project. Sondra celebrates sharing the "daily joys and struggles" of the people she serves in North Minneapolis — and encourages other alums to do the same. Click here to share her story on Twitter! Below, we also share the stories of other inspiring AmeriCorps alums and national service champions including Caleb Jonas, a VISTA alum who is combatting poverty, and Wisconsin U.S. Representative Gwen Moore, also a VISTA alum.

We know how life-changing a year of service can be — and in partnership with the biggest organizations in service — we’re working to ensure those stories are told. Let’s make the AmeriCorps alum story one that matters to everyone, because the work we do already does.

In Service,

Ben Duda and Mary Bruce
AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors

Living as a Seed of Hope

Sondra Samuels, an alum and leading educational reformer, shares how she continues living and working as a seed of hope after serving in Americorps and Peace Corps. “Today,” says Sondra, “the economic, educational, political and proximity gaps between the haves and have nots is widening. Far too many low-income people, who are often people of color, are isolated and disconnected from opportunities for upward mobility. Who is accountable for improving the lives of low-income people of color for whom the American dream has been denied? Of course each individual is responsible for his or her own success, but we cannot do it alone. We need each other more than ever now.” Read more

Service Brings Out America’s Best


We’ve always said America’s best are Made in AmeriCorps. And we’re not the only ones who think so. Read more on the Huffington Post from clinical psychologist Michael Friedman on why service may be “biologically embedded through genetics.” A year of service not only gives us the skills to succeed after AmeriCorps, but research shows that it’s also making us happier.

Everything We Need to Know, We Learned in AmeriCorps 

Teamwork, trailblazing, dodgeball. Most of the skills that make us good neighbors and leaders were learned in AmeriCorps. “The time I spent as an AmeriCorps VISTA member fresh out of college taught me two lessons that have guided my career ever since,” says AmeriCorps alum Caleb Jonas. Read more to find out how VISTA shaped his life.

It's Okay to Make Some Trouble

Are volunteers troublemakers? U.S. Representative Gwen Moore, an AmeriCorps VISTA alum, shared her reflections on those first “troublesome VISTA volunteers” for the 50th anniversary of AmeriCorps VISTA. In VISTA’s earliest years, its volunteers were often perceived as too political. Yet, Representative Moore says VISTA members are not political, but that the “issues of poverty and lifting people up raise political issues.” Click here to watch Representative Moore’s full speech. 


Need help finding health or dental insurance now that your AmeriCorps term is over? Check out our new Benefits Marketplace!

Looking to purchase or re-finance a home? Check out our Quicken Loans partnership!

National News Round-Up!

What I Saw at Selma
Become a National Service Ambassador with the Franklin Project
A Gift from Volunteers that Every Child Could Use
A Challenge from National Service’s Godmother
AmeriCorps Week: Oh, The Places We Serve!

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