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Getting Things Done For Ohio

Every day, Ohioans are making extraordinary contributions to the communities where they live, work, and play. Learn more about the impact AmeriCorps members and volunteers have on the communities they serve, stay current on service and volunteerism trends, and be the first to know about upcoming funding opportunities, events, and special initiatives.


Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, Outreach & Education Officer, ServeOhio

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3 Takeaways from my VISTA Service

As spring approaches, so does the start of the 2019-20 recruitment season of Ohio’s AmeriCorps programs. It’s exciting to think about the coming crop of people committing to a year of service with AmeriCorps. It’s a bit like a choose your own adventure tale—you can make a difference in fields as diverse as healthcare, education, environmental, and capacity building. This time of fresh opportunity makes me reflect on my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and how it impacted my life.  

During my senior year of college, I knew that I wanted to kick-start my post-college life with a year of service and ultimately wound up serving three years as a VISTA member. I served first within the Reynoldsburg School District setting a framework of tutoring and family engagement programming at an elementary school. It was a challenging year but inspired me to serve again, this time in a leadership role. As a VISTA Leader with Ohio Campus Compact’s Connect2Complete program, a college retention program I found a site where I could serve in a field—higher education access—I cared about while building up my marketable skill sets.

Inspired by the start of the recruitment season, here are the 3 takeaways I most appreciate from my 3 years of service:

1. Relationships:

AmeriCorps brought me into contact with a lot of wonderful people and expanded my network of friends and mentors. My first year of service taught me the importance of camaraderie and I enjoyed our quarterly member retreats and happy hours. The different perspectives of our corps were a huge part of my AmeriCorps education and their support carried me through the ups and downs of service.

2. Skills:

My undergraduate education was steeped in the liberal arts and AmeriCorps allowed me to take this background and build up a hard skill set that translated to the professional world. I learned how to plan an event, lead a meeting, initiate programming, network, and recruit and support an AmeriCorps program. Along the way I discovered that I loved national service as much as analyzing literature.

3. Community Investment:

I chose to commit to service in my home region of central Ohio and AmeriCorps introduced a new understanding of the city I’m from. While the focus of my program was higher education, VISTA’s central tenant is to alleviate poverty and we dug into all the interconnected issues like transportation, housing, and food access. I engaged with different neighborhoods and got a richer sense of what makes Columbus and what still limits its potential. 

Columbus came alive for me during my 3 years of service as I connected with the people and the places, and I transformed into a person who knew how to get things done.

What will you take away from your AmeriCorps term?


By: Ava Carvour

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