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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.


rverhoffkiss
rverhoffkiss

Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, Outreach & Education Officer, ServeOhio

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Combining a Love of History and Service

I am fortunate that my AmeriCorps program allows me to help others through doing things that I love. Since entering the history field professionally, my primary area of study has been military history, specifically that of Ohio, and Ohio local history is my passion. Joining the Ohio History Service Corps, the Ohio History Connection’s AmeriCorps program often referred to as the History Corps, was a great option for me.  My projects with the History Corps allow me to combine my areas of interest and study while letting me use them to help organizations through my service.

In my past two years as an AmeriCorps member, I have been able to put my knowledge to use. Military items are abundant in small museums and historical societies throughout Ohio, and many history organizations want to put these items in exhibits to honor local men and women who served in the military. I love being able to visit these organizations and see what fascinating and rare artifacts they have in their collections. With the History Corps, I am able to help these organizations correctly identify their military collections and show them how to properly handle, store, and conserve artifacts.

My service has also expanded my knowledge and helped my personal interests. Often small history organizations present me with challenging questions, or with new information that makes me reconsider what I thought I knew. Frequently while assisting history organizations, I come across rare or unusual artifacts in collections. Properly identifying unusual artifacts is an exciting challenge that benefits me and the institution in which they reside. I love to find out more about these unusual items and connect them to the stories of local people who served in the military.

But these are all very general things.

One of the major reasons I have stayed in the program three years is that those years have coincided with the centennial of US involvement in World War I. In my years of service, I have helped with a wide variety of activities commemorating Ohio’s involvement in the war. These activities have included exhibits, programs, and living history events. Normally, in any other position, I would have been lucky to participate in a couple WWI living history events, but because of the History Corps I have been able to organize and help plan many each year all across the state.

During my time with the Ohio History Service Corps, I have been able to do what I love while performing a valuable service to organizations. My passion for Ohio military history has given me the knowledge to assist historical societies and museums with very specific needs, while at the same time teaching me more about the subject I so greatly enjoy.



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