Act Now (well, on your personal time): Save AmeriCorps!

AmeriCorps is on the chopping block. Our jobs, livelihood, nine-to-five – gone. The program – no, opportunity – that deploys more than 75,000 dedicated people who support our most vulnerable in this country is threatened.

But, this is why we got into this work, is it not? To take a stand about what we care about, put our values into action, love our neighbors and love our planet?

Remember that cutting AmeriCorps is not because it is not effective and is NOT because your work is not important. You are important, your work is important, you are valued. We know this is hard, but be resilient and let this motivate you to work harder.

This threat to AmeriCorps is a misguided budget cut. A power move. But no matter how worried we are about our role, this threat is not about AmeriCorps members, it is about who or what we are in service to. We’ve spent months, maybe years, pouring ourselves into our work. Building relationships with people, restoring lands, developing processes for systems change. All the while collecting stories and numbers about our work.

So, don’t be silenced. Be loud.

As the Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative, 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. We are nothing without you. So let’s leverage our resources and be loud about this budget cut to AmeriCorps and other federal programs that support our most vulnerable neighbors and protect our planet. We know there are many AmeriCorps members in many different organizations. We believe that if your organization publicly states why AmeriCorps is important to them, we will pool our resources to have greater advocacy about this issue in the Seattle area.

We’ve created this email template for you to send to your supervisor, Executive Director, or marketing/public relations department that urges them to take a stand about saving AmeriCorps on social media. Send it today – from your personal email, on your own time – make it personal, and spread the word to others who might do the same. Don’t forget to call your Congressional representatives and talk about the other programs on the chopping block you want saved. Now is the time to be loud and proud about your role and your impact. This isn’t about saving your job, it’s about saving the capacity AmeriCorps builds for our nonprofits to serve vulnerable people in need of services. Know your power and use it.

 “Participation, your civic duty, is more than just voting… Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be. But it requires your dedicated, and informed, and engaged citizenship. And that citizenship is a harder, higher road to take, but it leads to a better place. It’s how we built this country—together.”

– President Obama

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at seattleaccollaborative@gmail.com.

— Email Template —

Dear NAME,

I am writing to you because I heard today that the President’s proposed budget will cut all AmeriCorps programs and the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is important to me that ORGANIZATION publicly opposes the proposed budget cuts to AmeriCorps.

During my AmeriCorps term, I have done many things to support the mission of ORGANIZATION. Here are just a few of my accomplishments:

  • Make sure these bullets focus on the people you’ve served, or land you’ve worked on.
  • Talk about the ultimate impact of your project – review your assignment description to align these numbers to the goals set out for your role
  • Include a story about one person, or one project you particularly have accomplished.
  • If you work as a team, be sure to tell them that this work could not be done without them.

In addition, AmeriCorps has saved ORGANIZATION thousands of dollars, and increased our capacity to serve more people. Nationwide, more AmeriCorps members contribute more than 1.4 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing 2.3 million volunteers for the organizations they serve. AmeriCorps is much more than me. The Corporation for National and Community Service makes America great by empowering citizens to solve local problems, expanding economic opportunity, encouraging personal responsibility, and strengthening civil society. Through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and the Social Innovation Fund, CNCS engages three million Americans in results-driven service each year at 50,000 locations across the country, from small towns and rural areas to inner cities. Volunteering and national service are vital and cost-effective solutions to our nation’s most-difficult challenges.

I feel passionately about saving AmeriCorps. That is why I am asking that ORGANIZATION publicly opposes the budget cuts to AmeriCorps. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

NAME

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Open Board Positions!

We are NOW recruiting for THREE board positions: Board Chair, Events Chair, and a NEW board position, Fundraising Chair!

Board Chair: Manages the development of Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative Board and supports the board with leadership and vision

Events Chair: Plans monthly events in the SAC community and plans our #StipendLife event in the fall.

Fundraising Chair: *NEW POSITION*: Works with the team to develop our fundraising program to continue hosting SAC events. Applies for grants, works on outreach, develops relationships with our sponsors & donors.

All of these positions are excellent resume builders and an opportunity to work with a really amazing team!

The time commitment: monthly board meeting in Seattle once a month for a year, and two large events (Stipend Life & Career Fair) that require a little more time in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

Is traveling/parking a challenge? We allow occasional skype meetings or phone calls.

Requirement to apply: You must be a currently serving AmeriCorps member.

Members can serve on the board for as many terms as they served in AmeriCorps (I.e. a 2nd year could serve two years on the board). You can apply during any point in your service term, even near the end, and still finish a year on the board.

Apply today! (What are you waiting for?) Application here:

https://goo.gl/forms/l6NwReC06PEsM9mg1

 

OPEN POSITION: Events Committee

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SAC seeks individuals that are dedicated to producing high-quality events, who are excited to work in a team setting, and who find themselves energized by the opportunity to help others grow into civic-minded professionals as they complete and exit their service term! This committee experience will be supportive, offer opportunities for you to grow your professional skills, and fun!

Events Committee Member Position Description:

Qualifications:
– Event planning experience
– Familiar with Google Suite applications and Microsoft programs
– Marketing and promotional experience
– Community outreach/gift solicitation
– Enjoys working in collaborative group settings

Eligibility:
– Currently serving in AmeriCorps term or AmeriCorps alumni
– Living in Greater Seattle area through the 2017 calendar year
– Able to meet in Seattle metro area 1-2 times per month outside of regular work hours
– Access to computer and internet
– Available to attend and support SAC Career Fair (Tentative: May 25) and SAC Stipend Life Event (Date TBD)

Responsibilities:
– Attend Events Committee meetings 1-2 times per month
– Communicate regularly with Events Committee Chair regarding task completion
– Engage actively in Events Committee meetings and take ownership over individual tasks

**THIS IS A VOLUNTEER POSITION**

Apply Here: https://goo.gl/forms/V9zuLthMm0YnYKsw2

Winter on an Ameri-Budget: Save Your Cold, Hard Cash!

frozenThe holidays are over, and the dark winter drags on. While January can be a discouraging time, never fear! We have some special ways to warm your heart and your wallet during this dark month.

  • How to Save on Energy Costs

Due to heating bills, in the winter energy costs skyrocket, and when you’re living on a budget, it can be a huge chunk of change down the drain. Here are some tips about how to save money on your energy bills:

  1. Bundle up. We know, we know. No one likes to turn DOWN the thermostat, but it is one of the simplest ways that you can save electricity. Use those warm blankets & sweaters, and turn down the thermostat to the 68-degree marker. Add some rugs to insulate your floor.
  2. Use a Humidifier. Moist air typically feels warmer and will help you feel more comfortable. Plus, it will help keep your skin from drying out. Don’t have money for a humidifier? Increasing the amount of plants in your room or apartment can also increase the humidity.
  3. Use LED Lights! This almost goes without saying, but if you haven’t switched your lights to LED, now is the time. These bulbs pack a powerful punch to your energy bill. Plus, more light= warmer, more welcoming home in the darker season!
  4. Insulation, double paned windows, & you: The effect of insulation on your heating and energy bills is huge. Make sure your home is properly insulated, add towels (if you need) under outside doors. Ask your landlord if they will invest in double paned windows to decrease energy consumption.

Find more tips here: https://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips

  • DIY Heat Warmers

Keep your hands warm during the winter months and help reduce landfill waste with these DIY Heat warmers made from fabric & rice (what a cool project!) http://www.instructables.com/id/Rice-Heating-Pad-Hand-Warmers-Gift/

  • Low Cost Indoor Activities (from GreaterSeattleOnTheCheap.com)

Seattle discount movie tickets are available at many Seattle movie theaters for the first show of the day around NOON, and a few for all matinees before 4PM. Discount movie times and prices vary by theater. Older or more out-of-the way theaters (see list below) are generally cheaper than multiplexes in densely populated retail areas. There may be Service Fees added to the theater’s posted prices. If available, IMAX, 3D and other formats beyond basic digital are generally higher by a few bucks.

(http://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/seattle-discount-movies/)

Visit Seattle’s Volunteer Park Conservatory, located inside Volunteer Park at 1400 E. Galer St, Seattle, WA 98112 (Google map). Admission is $4 Adults, $2 Youth (13-17), and FREE for children 12 and younger. Free admission every first Thursday and first Saturday of each month. Open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Open year-round including all non-Monday holidays.

(http://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/seattle-volunteer-park-conservatory/)

PCC Natural Markets offers a 90-minute, fun, informative, and FREE class that leads you on a tour through the grocery store aisles to discover the many choices in organic produce, sustainably raised products, bulk foods, and much more. Taste products you haven’t tried before and learn about how they are produced.

(http://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/free-organic-foods-tour-walk-talk-and-taste-class-at-pcc-natural-markets/)

The Microsoft Visitor Center (MVC), located in building 92 of the Studio West campus in Redmond offers free, self-guided, interactive tours. At the MVC, you will experience some of the latest products and technology that Microsoft has to offer. You’ll be able to explore hands-on exhibits featuring some of the company’s most exciting technologies for home and business. Through the exhibits, you’ll also meet some of the people whose ideas and creativity make Microsoft a world leader in computer and software technology.

(http://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/free-self-guided-technology-tour-microsoft-visitor-center/)

Every Wednesday, you can drop-in for a free, 30-minute mindfulness-meditation session from 12:30-1:00pm at the Frye Museum on First Hill, where parking is also free. Registration is not required. These sessions are guided by Carolyn McManus, PT, MS, MA and Diane Hetrick, PT.

(http://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/free-meditation-at-seattle-frye-museum/)

With all the amazing things to explore and do in Seattle, there are many ways to enjoy the winter on a budget. Happy January!

 

Stories of Service: Danielle

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This is my story…

Most people finish college and feel like they are ready for a “big league” job. I’ll readily admit when I finished college, that is what I expected to find. I thought that I would jump immediately into the perfect office career for me that was rewarding, challenging, and maybe a little fun too. The only problem was…I had no idea what I wanted to do. Sure, I’d gotten my Bachelor’s in Psychology, but aside from the fact that I knew I DIDN’T want to be a therapist, I had no idea what the next step for me would be. I returned home, a little discouraged and extremely lost. I worked at Target, which was a nice place to work, but not exactly the dream career for a recent college graduate. I got placed in the cash office. I really enjoyed the cash office, but I knew I needed to find a real career path. I remembered what a friend had told me back in college. “You would be a great candidate for the AmeriCorps program! You love helping others!”

A little skeptical about if I could afford it, I logged on to AmeriCorps.gov. I was entranced by the idea. Thus began a 6-month search mission. I dug and dug, looking for just the right program in just the right place. I mailed a paper application to “NCCC Program” which is probably still somewhere in a desk in Washington DC. I almost dropped everything and moved to Missouri. I spent hours on the phone with potential interviewers. Myself, being an overachiever, applied to pretty much any program I could find.

When I finally got an interview with a program in Sacramento with Habitat for Humanity, I was incredibly, incredibly nervous. It seemed like the perfect position. I would be working with families, helping the community, and maybe even using my degree! That hour-long drive in the pouring rain was nerve-wracking. The interview, however, was not. I adored my interviewer (who went on to be my boss!) and really thought it was the perfect fit from the moment I walked out.

The rest, as they say, is history.

sac-habitat

I fell in love with Habitat for Humanity. I’m not sure if it was the amazing team I worked with in Sacramento, the 20 incredible families I got to meet, the amazing experience of building 10 houses in 10 days in New Orleans for Build-A-Thon 2015, or the incredible site specialists and HFHI staff that I connected with at NSLC 2015 (it was probably all of those things). I fell in love with Habitat for Humanity and I fell in love with AmeriCorps and I knew, near the end of my term, that I wanted to serve with Habitat again.

My roommate, who was a ReStore Development VISTA member in Sacramento, was incredibly passionate about the mission of the ReStores. She and I would talk about the store for hours. I began to talk to the staff and volunteers at the ReStore in Sacramento more often. I loved strolling through the store to find treasures. I quietly listened to what they needed, and wished I could help more. Eventually, I too, fell in love with the mission and knew that I wanted to be a ReStore VISTA like my roommate.

Habitat in Sacramento didn’t get a ReStore VISTA for a 2nd year, so I began to search other affiliates for the position. I remember the moment I visited HFH Seattle’s website and saw they had an opening. I crossed my fingers and sent my resume. I wasn’t sure if I had the skills they were looking for, I wasn’t sure if I could afford another year, I wasn’t sure if I could afford to move to Seattle, I didn’t know anyone who lived here. But I took a major leap and boy, did it pay off!

microsoft-docThis year has been an absolute whirlwind. From the 14-hour drive from California to this exact moment, I haven’t slowed down at all. When I decide something, I go all in. I fell in love with our Bellevue and Southcenter Store staff. I adopted WALL-E as my personal reminder that the stores help reduce landfill waste. I became an HFH AmeriCorps Ambassador and served with the SAC Board. I presented a workshop at the National Service Leadership Conference 2016 and was asked to be a plenary speaker. In everything I’ve done this year, I tried my best. I tried to give it my all. I didn’t often know what I was doing, and many times I spent hours googling or watching videos trying to figure it out. I’ve learned about social media analytics and search engine optimization and sales drivers. I’ve conducted 3 job interviews. I re-wrote our 50 page operations manual and got over 100 volunteers serving in big groups at the stores and increased our following on Facebook by 3,000 people in the last 10 months. I don’t pretend I was an expert, in fact, the only thing I feel like I became an expert in was knowing that I DIDN’T know how to do something!

coloradoThe support I received from my family, my host site, my supervisor, HFHI, the store team, and my AmeriCorps team was incredible. Most of them will never admit it, but they are the reason this is possible. Every email of encouragement, every moment spent listening to struggles and joys, every potluck, every uplifting meeting, every smile…I never could have made it through AmeriCorps without the people that supported me every step of the way.

If you know me well, you know I love quotes. In everything I did the past 2 years, I just kept reminding myself of the AmeriCorps pledge. Mostly, “Faced with adversity, I will persevere.” I’m not going to pretend AmeriCorps is easy. It’s not. In fact, it was probably 2 of the most challenging years of my life. Mentally, emotionally, professionally, and even politically!

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However, given the choice? I’d choose it again. I’d probably keep choosing it. I’ve often said that “if I could go on being an AmeriCorps member for the rest of my life, I’d probably do it.” I love the program that much. Yet, I know that it’s probably time to become a mentor and a guide, and help new members experience this program. I’m sad to be finishing AmeriCorps, but I’m so grateful for the experience, and I’m very excited for what the future will bring.

I can’t wait to become an advocate of the AmeriCorps program, I can’t wait to tell more of congress they need to support it, I can’t wait to encourage friends and family to join. I’m so proud to be an AmeriCorps Alum, and I am so proud to say that I GOT THINGS DONE!

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Danielle Lavy, 2 year AmeriCorps Alum

National Program 2015 (Homeowner Services Coordinator)  

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento

VISTA Program 2016-17 (Store Development Coordinator)

 Habitat for Humanity of Seattle-King County

 

Welcome, New Board Members!

The AmeriCorps Collaborative Leadership Board is proud to introduce two very special ladies who have been selected to serve with us for the upcoming year:

niya

 

Meet Niya Tawachi, the Board Secretary. She is currently serving in her first year with AmeriCorps at College Access Now, a Seattle based non-profit centered on the belief that all students should have the opportunity to graduate college. Passionate about increasing access to higher education, Niya serves as an 11th grade College Coach at Decatur High school. In addition to supporting her students through the college process, Niya also seeks to cultivate a community in which her students are encouraged to explore and appreciate the different components of their identities. Excited to continue fostering community, Niya is eager to begin her work with the Board. During her time with the Board, Niya hopes to further explore the hidden gems that make Seattle a great place to serve. As an avid foodie she is especially looking forward to discovering all of the city’s good eats and cozy cafés!

 

hannah

Meet Hannah Levy, the Membership Development Chair. Hannah completed her first AmeriCorps term in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California at the Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center through the CalSERVES Volunteer Infrastructure Project. Hannah is currently serving her second term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Skate Like a Girl Seattle focusing on development, fundraising, and of course learning to skateboard! Hannah loves to connect with others and find ways to collaboratively share resources. In her spare time you can find Hannah following dogs on Instagram or google mapping her way around her new city of Seattle.

 

 

 

Congratulations on your new roles! We’re looking forward to a wonderful 2017!