MLK Day of Service 2014

“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

Join AmeriCorps Alums in commemorating MLK Jr. through serving with the community. The DC Chapter has partnered with 4 organizations to offer service projects with other AmeriCorps corpsmembers and Alums on Saturday and Monday of MLK Weekend.

Select the project you’re interested in and register this week. Feel free to e-mail the DC Chapter point person if you have any questions. Hope to see you out this weekend serving!

Saturday, January 18th

1.) Park Clean Up – Join currently serving AmeriCorps members in a Sheppard Parkway Community Clean-Up on Saturday, January 18th from 10am – 2 pm. Meet on the corner of MLK and Malcolm X Avenue SE just off of 295 and close to the Congress Heights Metro Station. Volunteers will remove trash, debris, and invasive species from one of DC’s most unique wooded areas. Protect our trees, wildlife and rivers. Help create a new recreation destination in Ward 8. You will be serving with Congress Heights Community Association members, National Park Service, and currently serving AmeriCorps members. Gloves, bags, and water provided. Wear clothes you can get dirty.

Register by e-mailing the coordinator here: Esawyersrouse@ysop.org

AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter point person: Joy Whitt (joymwhitt@gmail.com)

Monday, January 20th

1.) Serve DC – Be a team leader for the ServeDC “It Takes a Village” project where volunteers will be deployed to more than a dozen senior centers and housing complexes to spend time with residents and help them create their own emergency preparedness plan. As a team leader you will be managing other volunteers on specific projects. The project is from 10 am – 1 pm.

If Alums would like to volunteer to be a team leader they can learn more about the service event logistics and register at http://bit.ly/mlkdaydc2014.  They also need to email me at Kristen.henry@dc.gov about being a team leader.

AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter point person: Lizzie Martinez (lizziemartinez87@gmail.com)

2.) Clothing Drive – If you have MLK Day off, Washington National Cathedral is hosting a clothing drive. The theme is “Rebuilding the Peaceable Kingdom.”  Volunteers are needed to help sort clothes, accept donations, and write thank you notes to donors. Sign up for a shift today! Shifts available at 8:45 am-10 am, 10-noon, Noon – 2pm. Location is the Sky Gakkai Buddhist Cultural Center at 3417 Massachusetts Ave NW. E-mail Patty Johnson to sign up for a shift at pjohnson@cathedral.org.

AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter point person: Lizzie Martinez (lizziemartinez87@gmail.com)

3.) City Year – Join City Year corpsmembers and AmeriCorps Alums at Coolridge High School in Takoma Park on Monday, January 20th from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. Service projects will include painting murals, maintaining playgrounds, building benches and planting green spaces.

Note: City Year’s MLK Day of Service is not taking any more sign-ups.  If you have not registered please do not show up on the day of but rather check out one of these other great ways to serve.

AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter point person: Stef Vestal (stef.vestal@gmail.com)

4.) Veterans and military families in the Washington, DC area:  You’re invited to attend a Martin Luther King Day service event, veteran resource fair, and family fun day…all in one! For the kids: basketball, face painting, crafts, healthy snacks. For you: resume review, job readiness workshops, interview prep, connections to local organizations that can help, and more. For your spouse: a panel on professional certification transfer. For all: a chance to serve others by packing Medevac kits. Sponsored by Points of Light, the Community Blueprint and Exelis. Partner organizations include the DC Office of Veterans Affairs, American Legion, the National Military Family Association, and many others. It’s taking place on Monday, Jan. 20, 11am to 2pm, at Dunbar High School, 101 N. N St., N.W. For details contact Tony Dale, tdale@pointsoflight.org, 202-729-8007.

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Holiday Toy Drive and Trivia Night

Holiday Toy Drive

This year, the AmeriCorps Alums DC chapter is partnering with Transitional Housing Corporation to collect educational toys for children ages 1-14. THC-DC helps more than 400 DC homeless and at-risk families living in the District of Columbia. Many of these families don’t have the resources to buy gifts for their kids, so THC’s goal is make sure every child has something to open under the Christmas tree. Help us collect 50 toys this holiday season to make sure these children have a bright holiday.

There are two ways to donate and see below for a list of suggested toys and the opportunity to help deliver the toys.

Two Ways to Donate:

1.)  Come to our Trivia & Toys night on December 9th!

Come out for a fun night of pub trivia with DC AmeriCorps Alums and Habitat for Humanity Alums on Monday, December 9th at The Wonderland Ballroom!  This is your opportunity to engage in a friendly competition with fellow alums and friends as well as help local families have a happy holiday season.

Gather your friends and form a team today or sign up and find a team once you get there.  Prizes will be awarded to the team with the best name and most donations!

So register now because space is limited: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-americorps-alums-pub-trivia-and-holiday-toy-drive-tickets-9470706137

2.)  Drop off your donation at ServiceNation
ServiceNation has volunteered to act as a collection center for toys. The address is 1012 14th St NW, Suite 915 (14th St NW between K & L Street).

Monday-Friday,  9 am – 6 pm, December 3rd-14th
Knock loudly on the door
(If you want to drop it off earlier or later, just email Lizzie Martinez at lizziemartinez87@gmail.com and we can work something out)

List of suggested items from THC-DC

  • VTech Books
  • Leap Frog Items
  • Snap-N-Learn Toys
  • LeapTop
  • I-Jig Electronic Puzzles
  • Bop-It
  • CatchPhrase
  • Educational books
  • Other educational toys for children ages 1-14

Help Deliver The Toys
We will be delivering the toys to the Fort Webster Apartments run by THC-DC on Monday, December 16th at 3:30 pm. Email Lizzie,  lizziemartinez87@gmail.com if you’re interested in joining us.

Thanks for your generosity this holiday season!

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Make a Difference Day 2013 – Youth Service Opportunities

Alums working side by sideAmeriCorps Alums celebrated Make a Difference Day by joining Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) for a great Saturday of service. Partnering with BEST Kids, which matches foster care youth with mentors in the DC area, Alums served at three different sites.

One group headed to Unique Care Residential Services, an assisted living home, where volunteers decorated the nursing stations for a Halloween celebration the next week. They even had a pint-sized helper, one of the nursing aide’s sons who enthusiastically joined in the decorating.

Another group helped out an elderly woman who relies on volunteer help to stay in her home. The Alums team at the site was smaller than expected but got everything done! They mowed and edged the lawn, helped clean her kitchen, and more.

Finally, the last team volunteered with Washington Parks and People at the North Columbia Heights community garden. Nestled in an alley in Columbia Heights, the garden offers community members a chance to have their own plot and does educational opportunities for school children. Alums helped build a new small stage, built a  new picnic table, and cleared the plot at the edge of the garden free of weeds and spread mulch.

It was another great day of service for Alums – getting things done in the community.

If you’re interested in the Service Committee, e-mail dcalumsservice@gmail.com.

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Service & Grad School

Thirty minutes after we started serving, our Food & Friends leader walked by to check on us. “Wait,” he said, seeing us finishing up our first project, “You guys are done already? Dang, you work fast.”

AmeriCorps Alums packed more than 500 emergency food bags

AmeriCorps Alums packed more than 500 emergency food bags

As usual, AmeriCorps Alums worked hard all morning for our first service event of the year. We partnered with Food & Friends, which prepares and delivers meals for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses. They prepare most meals from scratch in their own facility and deliver throughout the DC, Maryland, Virginia area – even as far away as Fredericksburg.

More than 20 alums came out on a Saturday morning to complete a few projects. One group helped deliver food to clients around DC. The other group worked on the seminannual project of packing emergency food boxes for clients, in case a delivery was missed or in case of natural disaster.

We packed more than 500 emergency food bags including packing hamburger patties and turkey burgers, emergency veggie bags, and bags of non-perishable goods.

And of course we had fun meeting other Alums and hearing their stories. My favorite part of service with Alums is getting to hear everyone ask each other – where did you serve? And to hear the answers!

We had alums who served in DC when NCCC had a campus here, a few who just finished up their year of service, and even a few second year AmeriCorps members starting another year.

After we finished serving, we gathered around lunch to hear about a grad school program: IPSL programs combine academic studies and community service and full cultural immersion to give students a deeper, more meaningful study abroad experience. Students study abroad in Italy, Thailand, and/or Ecuador during their two-year program as well as complete a practical capstone project tackling a problem in the community.

Carrie from IPSL gave a great presentation and took questions on it. If you’re interested in a great grad program, check it out at ipsl.org.

Got ideas for a great service project? Email dcalumsservice@gmail.com.  Hope to see you at our next service event!

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Stepping up for AmeriCorps

For the past year and a half I have been honored to be a co-chair for the DC Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums and have been honored to work with a great board of dedicated alums from all over the country.  However, we are entering a summer of transition and need to have some new alums step up and help lead the chapter.  Some of our board members are moving away from the area and others are rolling off the board or into different positions.  We need members who can dedicate to helping to co-chair a committee for a year or two years.  This means attending a monthly meeting and overseeing a committee of alums that help to plan service, social, professional development or advocacy events.  It does not take more than a couple of hours a month, but is a great opportunity and a chance to meet and hang out with lots of awesome AmeriCorps Alums.

Members of the DC Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums Board

Members of the DC Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums Board

If you are interested or want more information we would love to have you fill in this survey: http://t.co/Xjw1GWZyQo as soon as possible.  Please feel free to e-mail me at stef.vestal@gmail.com if you have any questions!

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Put your Passion into Practice

AmeriCorps Alums is proud to announce the first of several partnerships with Graduate and Undergraduate Schools across the Nation that are seeking AmeriCorps Alums and working with us to give scholarships and amazing experiences.  Learn more about the SIT Graduate Institute and their programs here:

Put your passion into practice at SIT Graduate Institute

SIT Graduate Institute is hosting its 3rd Open House of the year on Friday, May 3rd from 9am – 4pm. Come meet our amazing faculty, inspirational student body and learn about our transformative master degree programs in sustainable developmentpeacebuilding and conflict transformationinternational educationTESOL and intercultural service, leadership and management. You can register for the event here.

Our programs are unique because they:

  • Prepare hands-on professionals to work in intercultural and international environments;
  • Provide professional skills for self-reliant and sustainable change;
  • Address contemporary social, economic, and political issues;
  • Use innovative problem-solving strategies to address critical issues;
  • Act within a context of increasing global commitment to social justice;
  • Offer the opportunity to study with faculty who practice what they teach.

If you can’t make it to our Open House, fill out an inquiry form and/or contact an admissions officer to talk about our programs or arrange a personal visit.

Finally, If a master’s degree is not in your plans at the moment, why not consider our summer CONTACT peacebuilding across cultures workshop. It takes place each summer in late May. Applications are still being accepted.

Feel free to contact our SIT representative Mary Kay, the Senior Admissions Officer & SIT Adjunct Faculty:

Email: marykay.sigda@sit.edu

Phone: 802-258-3103___Fax: 802-258-3428

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Gardening for a Cause

With spring coming to DC, AmeriCorps Alums headed out to Brightwood to do some gardening for a cause with Transitional Housing Corporation (THC) of DC.

Getting right to work at building garden beds.

Getting right to work at building garden beds.

THC’s mission is to provide housing and comprehensive support services to homeless and at-risk families so that they can make transformational changes in their lives. One of the transitional housing sites is at an apartment complex off of Georgia Avenue in the Brightwood neighborhood. We joined up with Kate, Volunteer Coordinator and AmeriCorps Alum, to help get the garden off to a good start.

After learning more about THC, we headed out to the community garden near the complex. The THC gardening program is in the middle of a larger community garden. It has plots for adults and youth to garden in.

Since we’re AmeriCorps Alums, we know our way around a little hard work. We built four garden beds, cleared the plot of weeds, and placed the beds.  We even found a little time to hang out with some of the community residents.

AC Alums hard at work in the garden.

AC Alums hard at work in the garden.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning. We hope to do more events with THC-DC in the future, so stay tuned for more volunteer opportunities!

Next time we want YOU at service!

Next time we want YOU at service!

If you’re interested in the work THC-DC does, consider attending their annual silent auction and dinner event on May 16. Find out more at http://www.thcdc.org/index.php/events/index.

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AmeriCorps & AmeriCorps Alums CAN!

To kick off AmeriCorps Week, Alums joined with the DC AmeriCorps Leadership Council (DCALC) on Saturday, March 9 to serve. About 20 current AmeriCorps members and 20 Alums gathered at the Capital Area Food Bank to donate food, get to know each other, and have some fun.

IMG_4078

Volunteers pose with their creation!

We all came bearing cans of food and more than 1,000 lbs of food were donated to the Food Bank.

The Capital Area Food Bank just moved into an amazing new space last year, which has helped it achieve its mission of providing food to area food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens. It works with more than 700 partner agencies to distribute 33 million lbs of food each year. With half a million people in the DC metro region struggling with hunger, their services are much needed.

After tallying all the food, we formed teams and had fun creating elaborate structures out of the cans and boxes. The theme was DC and the teams were very creative making replicas of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the DC skyline, the mall, and a beautiful cherry blossom. The judges spent a long time deliberating, and the cherry blossom team was declared the winner!

The day was lots of fun for everyone who came. If you are interested in running a food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank, volunteering, or learning more, visit the website at www.capitalareafoodbank.org.

 

IMG_4076

AmeriCorps Alums at Capital Area Food Bank

Hope to see you at another service event soon!

 

 

AmeriCorps Week continued on Wednesday, March 13th with a successful meet and greet of the DC Chapter Leadership.  More than 30 area alums and friends came out to Cause, the PhilanthroPub to share in some networking and fellowship.  Check out Cause’s website here: www.causedc.org/

LAA fair

Working the table at the Life After AmeriCorps Fair

We ended the week strong with the Life After AmeriCorps Fair where alums served on a panel and worked a table to give out information to current members about all the great things AmeriCorps Alums offers.  The evening concluded with a happy hour at Buffalo Billards with both alums and current members.

 

 

 

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Are you Made in AmeriCorps?

Saturday, March 9 – Saturday, March 16 is AmeriCorps week and we want to find out if you are Made in AmeriCorps?  Here are some great opportunities you can take advantage of this week in the DC area.  If none of these fit in your schedule, check out Serve DC’s website, http://serve.dc.gov/ or you can volunteer at the Rock and Roll Half Marathon next Saturday; http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/usa/volunteer

We hope you have a great week!

AmeriCorps CAN! Service Event with DCALC & Capital Area Food Bank
Saturday, March 9th
At the Capital Area Food Bank- 4900 Puerto Rico Ave NE (near Fort Totten Metro Station or the 80 bus)
11am – 3pm with light breakfast served!

We are asking each participant to bring 10 cans of food with you to donate

Join fellow AmeriCorps Alums and current AmeriCorps members in a food drive and fun service event at the Capital Area Food Bank. After breakfast together we will form into teams of alums & current members to “construct” masterpieces out of our donated items to show everyone in the DC Metro Area that yes, AmeriCorps (and Alums) CAN!

AmeriCorps Alums, family members, and Friends of Alums are invited to attend. Participants are strongly encouraged to collect food items from friends/family members to bring more than 10 cans!

Sign up here: alumscan.eventbrite.com

Email lizziemartinez87@gmail.com with questions!

Meet & Greet
with AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter Leaders & Committee Chairs

Where: Cause (1926 9th Street NW)
When: Wednesday March 13th from 7:30-8:30

Swing by the restaurant to say hello to our chapter leaders and committee chairs. This is a chance to learn how to get more involved in the chapter!

Also this week…

CYDC Alumni & Friends Fundraiser

Join the City Year Alumni Association of Washington, DC for an evening to benefit the young idealists who serve to improve the academic success of children throughout the District! Ticket includes food, beverages, and a raffle ticket. Bring 5 can donations for an additional raffle ticket.
When:March 8th from  7:30pm – 10:00pm
Where:Tabula Rasa (731 8th St SE)

Save the Date…

Resumania!
March 20, 2013
Clean up that Resume! AmeriCorps Alums will be hosting a resume review session along with interview tips later this month. Additional details coming soon!

Do you care about Americorps? 

Advocacy can be a scary word, but it doesn’t have to be. Advocacy is about educating your friends, family, and elected officials about the value of AmeriCorps. We are committed to making advocacy accessible for Alums living in DC. Our goal is to provide training, set up opportunities to raise awareness of AmeriCorps, and build a fellowship among Alums working in government.

If you are interested in helping plan an upcoming event, come to the next advocacy committee meeting. RSVP to Morgan & Alisha atdcalumsadvocacy@gmail.com.

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DC AmeriCorps Alums Recap on MLK and Inauguration Weekend

JANUARY 28, 2013

Stefanie, Corey, and Denise with other members of DC AmeriCorps Alums Chapter at Sunday Supper.

Stefanie, Corey, and Denise with other members of DC AmeriCorps Alums Chapter at Sunday Supper.

Thanks to Stefanie Vestal & Corey Jannicelli; Chapter Co-Leaders of DC AmeriCorps Alums Chapter and Denise Riebman, AmeriCorps Alums National Advisory Council for the posts and to Ken Tran of AmeriCorps Alums for putting it all together.

SV & CJ: One of Dr. Martin Luther King’s more famous quotes is:

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

This year Americans had a unique opportunity to honor Dr. King in a very special way.  Not only was this an Inauguration year, but since the 20th of January fell on a Sunday, all of the public Inauguration events were moved to Monday, January 21, 2013 which was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Service projects and events were planned all over the country for the entire long weekend and the Nation’s Capital was placed under a microscope.

DR: One word – Inspiration. While Inaugural Weekend was bitterly cold in Washington DC, supporting national service was very hot!

Read more below for their recap of DC Weekend of Service.

Friday, January 18, 2013

CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer energizes Alums at Cause DC.

DR: On Friday, our fearless national service leaders, AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl and Corporation for National and Community Service Wendy Spencer got the crowd going at the AmeriCorps Alum Weekend of Service Kick Off Happy Hour hosted at Cause – The Philanthropub (which was also founded by an AmeriCorps and Returned Peace Corps Alum!)  While eating some hot and spicy chicken wings, anyone still cold by the weather were quickly “warmed up” by the mingling in the room between members of different AC programs and generations.

SV & CJ: The DC AmeriCorps Alums Chapter was a part of several successful events over the weekend.  Beginning on Friday night, AmeriCorps Alums hosted a happy hour at Cause DC.  Cause is a PhilanthroPub that donates parts of its profits to different non-profits each month.  Over 50 alums came by the Happy Hour and we were fortunate enough to be joined by the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service Wendy Spencer and the Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DC Alums serving at The Armory.

SV & CJ: DC Alums recognize Martin Luther King’s call for service Saturday when we joined withBaltimore AmeriCorps AlumsNCCC members and hundreds of others to volunteer the Points of Lightservice project, Unite America in Service, benefiting Operation Gratitude.  Together we helped to fill 100,000 care packages to be sent to soldiers and their families overseas.  Saturday’s service event was  AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter’s largest service activity to date with over 100 members take part in the day.

DR: Saturday morning, along with thousands others, I waited in the very cold long lines to get inside the Armory to volunteer at the Unite America in Service Event, in support of our veterans and current service members.  Initially impatient after seeing the even longer lines inside to pack the care kits, my mood shifted quickly when I started talking to a young man from Turkey whose eyes lit up by being involved.   He had never seen anything like this in his country and was impressed by Americans’ commitment to service and the diversity of those present at the Armory.  My impatient and frozen self melted away as I remembered why I was there to serve.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DC Alums with Director of AmeriCorps, Bill Basl, at Sunday Supper.

SV & CJ: A Sunday Supper is a way to gather people around a meal with the purpose of discussing an issue and working to figure out solutions or ideas.  Last year, the chapter hosted a Sunday Supper focused on the issue of hunger and this year we participated in America’s Sunday Supper hosted by Points of Light with a heavy focus on Education.  Guest speakers included Colin and Alma Powell, Rahm Emanuel and DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.  Six members of the AmeriCorps Alums DC Chapter board were fortunate enough to be invited to the event, which was held at the brand new Institute of Peace building in Washington, DC.

DR: At America’s Sunday Supper, I was blown away by the presentation by General Colin Powell and Laysha Ward, President of Community Relations for Target and Board Chair of Corporation for National and Community Service.  I know I wasn’t the only one who shed tears watching the Target video highlighting young adults who received their college acceptance letters and hearing about their shared commitment with America’s Promise for all generations.  If anyone in the room had any skepticism about the different sectors interacting, that doubt would have disappeared quickly listening to the dialogues shared on Sunday.

Monday & Tuesday, January 21 – 22, 2013

Morgan St. Jean up early at the Morning Joe taping.

DC Alum Morgan St. Jean up early at the Morning Joe taping.

SV & CJ: On Monday many of our members found themselves heading to the Capitol or National Mall to be a part of history.  We have the distinct honor of living in or around our Nation’s Capital and it seems fitting for AmeriCorps Alums to want to be a witness to the events.

On both Monday and Tuesday members of our chapter bravely were up in the early predawn hours and waiting in line to be on the set of Morning Joe for their special DC taping.

Our chapter is thankful to all of our members who came out to any of our events throughout the weekend.  In total we had over 200 alumni participating throughout the weekend and are grateful to the many members who helped to organize each activity that took place.  We hope that everyone had a service filled and memorable weekend.

DR: Washington DC may have been cold on the outside, but national service brought the inspirational heat to keep us warm all weekend long!

Keep up with our DC AmeriCorps Alums Chapter beyond MLK Day on Facebook and Twitter.

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