We are excited to celebrate the annual AmeriCorps Week by sharing stories of AmeriCorps alums, including some from our Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring program!
The Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassadors Of Mentoring are full-time AmeriCorps members placed at mentoring programs and youth-serving organizations to help build their capacity to serve more youth in high quality mentoring relationships. Since 2008, 175 AOMs have served through 64 mentoring agencies with an average of 1,500 volunteer inquires that resulted in an average of379 mentors matched each year. AOMs have reached more than 10,000 young people through nearly 35,000 service hours. Last year alone, they helped to raise $1 million for their host sites.
Our AOM program is one component of a national network of AmeriCorps members and programs. AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship. We are proud to be part of such an impactful and engaging network, and we are proud of our AOMs, both current and past!
You can learn more about how AmeriCorps week is being celebrated across the country here. You can help us celebrate by reading the story below and the other stories to come later this week!
Mike's AmeriCorps Story
Tell us about your experience as a Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring (AOM).
I served for a year at Big Brothers Big Sisters Massachusetts Bay. My project scope focused on building the organizational capacity around diversity recruitment. Statistics show that 8 out of the 10 littles (mentees) are of color but only 2 of the 10 mentors are of color, which is a problem, so I worked to increase the number of mentors of color. I was also tasked with creating a diversity council, which is still up and running today.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your year of service?
Serving in AmeriCorps helped me discover a community within a community. After moving to Boston from Chicago, I didn't know anyone. My corps members were my first friends, and became my close friends. I have also been able to enjoy the community aspect nationally by serving on the AmeriCorps alumni board and helping to set up networking events. Additionally, I represented AmeriCorps alumni by attending the National Conference for Volunteering and Service and speaking about my experience. I still serve as a strategic advisor with The Aspen Institute on the Franklin Project (now the Service Year Alliance) wokring to build a culture of service throughout the country.
How did AmeriCorps influence your career path?
Serving in AmeriCorps opened doors both personally and professionally, creating a number of opportunities that otherwise would have been unavailable. My entire career trajectory in social impact is directly attributed to AmeriCorps. It helped me to develop skills and connections that are very relevant and valuable in the work that I am doing today. I am still involved today with Mass Mentoring Partnership, working now with them temporarily as their Special Projects Manager.
How did being and AOM in particular play a role in your life?
I was an Ambassador of Mentoring during a pivotal time in my life when I was going through a lot of personal development. Now, I still hang out with my fellow AOMs. Furthermore, being an AOM really influenced the trajectory of my career by reinforcing my commitment to service and introducing me to a network of service and nonprofit professionals. Service is something that will always play a major role in my life.
Why do you think AmeriCorps is important in Massachusetts communities?
AmeriCorps is important because it leverages the passion of people who are invested in their communities to possibly transform those communities in a lot of different ways. It also provides you with a different perspective on your community and exposes people to things they might not have been aware of previously.
Why do you think people should join AmeriCorps?
Serving a year with AmeriCorps changes you as a person for the better and empowers you to change the world you live in for the better. It creates a culture of service and that has a transformative effect on the country. We live in a divided country and AmeriCorps brings people together as corps members and also community members. It helps you see the value in differences.
Interested in becoming a Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring for 2016-2017? Learn more and indicate your intent to apply.