Gurneet Raina served the community in Rootstown, Ohio, at Corps for Rural and Urban Successes in Health (CRUSH) from 2013-2015. AmeriCorps members at this program establish and deliver a Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) service-learning based curriculum to students whose Ohio urban and rural school districts lack the resources to provide academic and career skill support necessary for students to obtain a sustainable career in the health care industry, a growing Ohio career opportunity. Currently, Raina is a second-year psychiatry resident through Summa Health. Q: What was your role as a member? What community issues did you address? A: Our role was to establish and deliver a Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) service-learning based curriculum to students whose Ohio urban and rural school districts lack the resources to provide academic and career skill support necessary for students to obtain a sustainable career in the healthcare industry. HPAC students identify a health issue in their community, such as diabetes or obesity, and develop a project that brings awareness to the issue. I assisted in teaching and establishing community connections for students in their community. Q: How did you first learn about AmeriCorps and why did you decide to join? A: I was approached by one of my professors in college to join the program. I was between two job options and ended up deciding to join AmeriCorps. As a recent college graduate, I wasn’t sure what the right path was for me, but knew that active community engagement could be a fulfilling service. Q: What was your favorite memory from serving? What did you enjoy most about your experience? A: My favorite memory was seeing students I mentored present their projects at a conference. When I first met them, they were shy but eager students. With a little guidance, I was able to watch them flourish and take ownership of their projects. It made me realize helping communities is about building them up to help themselves. My favorite part of this journey was the interaction with the students and watching them grow as active community participants. Q: How has AmeriCorps service influenced where you are today? A: It exposed me to people beyond my “bubble” and made me notice the health disparities right in my own state. I was surprised to see that no matter which part of the state I was in, students selected common themes such as mental health. I noticed the many resources for mental health varied county by county, creating a critical need for mental health providers. Hearing the stories and seeing the passion in my students working on their mental health projects ignited my interest to be part of the solution. I decided to apply to medical school and then eventually psychiatry. I hope to serve the very community I was an AmeriCorps member in providing a much-needed service. If it wasn’t for AmeriCorps, I would not have learned the vast disparities in my own backyard. Q: Would you recommend joining AmeriCorps to your peers? Why or why not? A: YES! It is a fantastic way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone in a supportive environment. It is also rewarding to be an active participant in your community. To learn more about the AmeriCorps program and to read more alumni stories, click here .