5 Tips for The Road Trip of a Lifetime!

What is the first word that pops into your mind when I say “networking”?

“Sharks”? “Feeding Frenzy”? “Terrifying”? “Fear”?

What about “adventure”?

I hate the word networking. I will be substituting the words “adventure” and “road trip,” because most people love adventures and road trips. Think of networking as the road trip of your lifetime: it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Most people try to network (adventure) with the effort to GAIN something from someone. I’m here to tell you that’s not really the point.

The point of networking (or road trips) is to connect with other people. That’s it. While the connections could possibly lead to a new job or a career, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t work like a simply transaction.

Networking (and road trips) take work & relationship building. That’s right. Real, hard work. In order to truly have incredible adventures with people, you have to be prepared. Here are 5 ways to prepare for your networking adventure:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you don’t have a plan of action. Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? What will you do if that plan doesn’t work out?
  2. Don’t be afraid to meet someone new. Take your friends along for the ride, but don’t be afraid to make new ones. New people challenge us: our skills, our thoughts about ourselves, and our dreams. They take us places we never imagined we’d go.
  3. Be yourself. Let people know the real you – what your interests are, what your dreams are, what challenges you have overcome, and where you want to go. Don’t hide behind your phone. Set it down, walk up to people, and have a conversation. Stop “social networking” and start “connecting.”
  4. Learn about THEM. What drives them? What inspires them? Why do they do what they do? Think of other people like your “road map.” In order to plan YOUR path, you must be aware of how other people have traveled theirs!
  5. Be prepared for flat tires. Sometimes, life will throw you a flat tire: a job that doesn’t work out, an employer you didn’t get along with, a fundamental change that leaves you jobless. The most important test of our character is how we handle the “flat tires” of our lives. Things change, and we must keep going.

There are always challenges to face on the road trip of life. Traveling pushes our limits, gives us the opportunity to grow, and builds our friendships with each other. Isn’t that the goal of networking too?

Test your road tripping skills at our upcoming Exclusive Networking Fair on May 25th at Seattle’s Impact Hub. Doors open at 3:00 p.m., register for your spot today.

picture.jpgAbout the Author Danielle is a 2nd year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, she served in Homeowner Services in Sacramento, California. This year, she is serving as the Store Development Coordinator for the two Habitat Stores in Seattle. She has a bachelors’ degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and she plans to work in non-profit management. Danielle enjoys hiking, running, and reading on the docks of Lake Washington. She is a member of the SAC Career Fair Committee.

Launch Your Career at Our Exclusive Networking Fair

You’ve just spent an entire year, or two… or three, as a dedicated AmeriCorps member. You’ve gained incredible and tangible professional experience, put in hours of volunteering, improved your leadership skills tremendously and impacted your community. And all of this was done on a teeny tiny living stipend.

Now, you’re transitioning out of service. You may know what you want to do, or what organizations you’d like to work for… Alternatively, you don’t know what you want to do, or you’re open to new opportunities.

Whether you are a member transitioning out of service or just getting started, we are supporting you this May by providing the opportunity to meet potential employers in your field of interest.

Our mission is to ensure that every AmeriCorps member’s year of service is as fulfilling and impactful as possible; leveraging the talents, knowledge and resources of a connected and service minded community.  That’s why you’re invited to the Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative’s first annual exclusive networking event – Resources for Success: SAC Networking Fair.

Take a step out of your comfort zone and step into your community! Join us on May 25th at the Impact Hub for food, networking and fun. Doors open at 3:00 pm. REGISTER today.

File Your Taxes For Free

Every year in Washington State, low-and-middle income individuals and families struggle to pay the bills and keep food on the table. Tax time can make an unstable situation even worse with low-income Washingtonians being disproportionately impacted by the most regressive tax system in the nation coupled with costly tax preparation fees, which are often upwards of $300.

But every tax season, across the country, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers people a free alternative to more costly tax preparation services. VITA free tax preparation services are offered by local IRS-certified volunteers and are closely monitored by the agency, giving them a far lower error rate than many self – and paid-tax preparation services.

United Way of King County has proudly operated our local VITA program, referred to as the Free Tax Preparation Campaign, for over thirteen years. Starting as only a few tax site locations, the program has expanded to be county-wide with 24 locations and leverages the skills and talents of over 900 multi-lingual, trained, and IRS-certified volunteers. In 2015, the Free Tax Preparation Campaign prepared 19,900 tax returns, securing $27 million in refunds to the community. This year the Campaign is aiming to serve even more low-and-middle income households than ever before.

Spread the word about this incredible free service and connect even more low-and-middle income families and individuals to these financially stabilizing resources.  To find your nearest tax site and what to bring, visit Free tax prep is also available online for households making less than $62K at

Originally written by United Way of King County,

Call for Leadership – Apply Today!

We are seeking three new executive board members to begin service in late February. The Executive Board is a working board that collectively plans for and administers the services and programs of the Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative. As the principal governing body of SAC, the Executive Board makes strategic decisions to advance the organization’s mission, representing the interests of the overall network of AmeriCorps programs and members that engage with SAC. Basic requirements for serving on the Executive Board are:

  1. Be a currently serving AmeriCorps member at time of application
  2. Attend monthly board meetings
  3. Show dedication to enhancing the AmeriCorps experience for members in Seattle

Those who join the Executive Board develop professional skills that make them highly employable upon finishing their AmeriCorps terms. Each position requires leadership and the ability to work in a dynamic team setting. What’s more, your team is in control of SAC’s strategy and activities; these higher-level responsibilities can truly foster growth for someone whose AmeriCorps position is considered entry level. Depending on your position within the Board, you may be tasked with planning an event for 50-100 people, developing a small grant proposal, conducting member surveys and analyzing the data, developing our website, creating an annual budget, and more. To say that you are on the board of a nonprofit dedicated to leveraging the impact of national service members looks great on a resume, and throughout the year you will have the opportunity to make new contacts that can benefit your career. We are proud to say that all three outgoing board members have recently secured nonprofit jobs, and we hope you will bring your amazing skills and leadership to our board this year.

We are currently recruiting for the following positions for the 2016 year: Board Chair, Events Lead, and Membership Development Lead.

Duties of the Board Chair include:

  • Serve as the face of the organization when interacting with events and sponsor groups
  • Encourage and oversee the work of the officers, activities, and organizational development.
  • Plan agendas for monthly meetings
  • Develop and maintain infrastructure of organization through bylaws, constitution, policies, procedures, and partnerships/contracts
  • Oversee budget

Duties of the Events Lead include:

  • Create solidarity among fellow current AmeriCorps members
  • Offer a small social or service events at least once month
  • Help lead the annual Fall Living on a Stipend Presentation
  • Identify and promote external opportunities for member interaction

Duties of the Membership Development Lead include:

  • Create and share personal and professional growth opportunities for members
  • Determine needs of members and develop appropriate services to meet those needs
  • Identify ambassadors in AmeriCorps cohorts to assist with major events
  • Help lead the annual Spring Job Fair

Email us at and let us know what position you are interested in! Deadline for applications is February 5, 2016.


#StipendLife in Review

DSC02079On Thursday, November 12, we held our largest event to date, Stipend Life. This event was wildly successful, and we could not have done it without the help and gracious support of fellow AmeriCorps members, alumni, and service-minded leaders.

On a typical rainy day in Seattle, Board members arrived early with service providers, to ensure that the room was set up and ready. Thank you to the Seattle Public Library, ORCA Lift, Bike Works, and the Utility Discount Program for being present at our event!

AmeriCorps members and allies quickly filled the room at City Hall for the much awaited Stipend Life event. Ryan, Board Chair, put his chef hat on that evening, and served a colorful taco bar, complete with fresh veggies and salsa, as well as vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options. After taking the time to socialize and eat some free food, guests settled down in their seats to listen to John Stovall, Advisory Council member, welcome and present our speakers.

DSC02096First to speak was Service Projects Chair, Alyssa Henry. She spoke about her experience in finding alternative forms of affordable housing in Seattle. She shared with us her story about how she used to find side work that would supplement her income, without having to commit to a part-time job. It was also useful for her to find pet and house sitting opportunities, so that she could live closer to her placement site. She would use it occasionally to get away from her crowded or unhappy housing situation as mini-vacations. She also used Craigslist to find part time jobs, temporary housing and pet/house sitting opportunities.

DSC02111After Alyssa, we welcomed Cassie, Board Secretary, to speak about transportation. She talked about her experience as a VISTA working in transportation, and her discovery of the various resources that are available. She spoke about how you can get creative to make your commute fun – reading, podcasts, conversation, writing, etc. She also informed us about ORCA Lift, a reduced fare for low-income individuals.

DSC02121Maddie, Social Events Chair, spoke about resources for living healthy on the stipend. She shared that the YMCA has reduced rates for AmeriCorps members, which is often income based. There are also donation based yoga classes, and gyms farther from the city that are cheaper. She talked about her experience “gym hopping”, where she took advantage of the first free memberships that are typically promoted, and also reduced membership options. If you are into sports, or interested in meeting new people, has running, soccer, Frisbee and softball clubs (the list goes on!). Then, she reminded us that self-care is important. There are mental health therapists in Seattle that are income based, or sliding scale. Be sure to take some time to treat yourself.

DSC02124Then, we welcomed Ryan, who spoke about resources for health food and cooking on the stipend. He reminded everyone that you are likely able to qualify for food assistance, such as SNAP. There are perks to this program, one called Fresh Bucks, where your dollars are doubled at the Farmer’s Markets. He said that he volunteers at a food bank so that he feels he is giving back when he needs to use their services. If you freeze certain foods and plan your meals, your food will last longer. He also urged members to think seasonally when buying food. For example, Brussels sprouts are in season, but strawberries are not. Buying food seasonally will reduce your grocery bill significantly!

We opened the floor to other resources that people know about. Members mentioned that Freecycle and Buy Nothing are great options to find housewares and furniture on the stipend. There are two hiking stores, 2nd Base and Second Ascent, who offer reduced and used hiking gear.

Overall, the event was a success! Everyone who attended learned something new, and intends to use this information to make living on the stipend a little easier. More than 5 people received information for or signed up for assistance at the event. Nearly everyone who attended said that it was their first event with Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative. Special thanks to our individual donors and sponsors who made this all possible.

Do you have a resource you want to share? Do you have ideas for our next event? Tell us about it! Contact us at

OUR MISSION is to ensure that every AmeriCorps member’s year of service is as fulfilling and impactful as possible; leveraging the talents, knowledge and resources of a connected and service minded community.

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