AmeriCorps is a national service organization that uses service to help those in need and has done so for the last 25 years.
The organization has a branch at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that recruits students to help groups like Habitat for Humanity, the Office of Sustainability at UL Lafayette and other organizations.
“We partner, our members partner, with local non-profiteers,” Vanessa Adamson, the Program Director of AmeriCorps at UL Lafayette said. “Our main ones are, like I said, the Lafayette Parish Schools, Lafayette Habitat for Humanity and then Rebuilding Together Acadiana are our big ones.”
She then explained what they had done more recently.
“We just recently partnered with the Office of Sustainability here on campus, so we do a lot with the Zero Waste Efforts at the Cajunfield for all the football games and we help them with waste and helping with the greenspace here on campus as well, and we do a lot of other things as well.”
The President of AmeriCorps at UL Lafayette, Samantha Spoon, said she enjoys working with Habitat for Humanity the most.
“I love Habitat. I think that I talk about it the most because I think it’s the most involved with my interests,” Spoon said. “I work Habitat every Saturday, and I think the community they have plus like the obvious progress you see in your action is very rewarding. It’s really fun too; the team’s just great.”
A third-year member of AmeriCorps, Cameron Rosen, explained that he loves to work with students at Lafayette Middle School because he wants to watch them grow and succeed.
“I serve as a teaching assistant, basically, at Lafayette Middle,” Rosen said. “I work alongside the students and the teachers to help them succeed. So I know a lot of them sometimes have trouble, and I like to be right there at their side, be able to kind of coach them through the struggles they deal with on a daily basis, but I enjoy every project that I can do.”
AmeriCorps has been a national organization for 25 years, and its members are celebrating next weekend, Oct.25 through Oct.27, in Baton Rouge with other AmeriCorps branches.
“We’re really excited. Not this Friday but next, we will hop on a bus, and we’re going to go to Baton Rouge,” Adamson said. “They’re going to have a bunch of festivities there. We, all the AmeriCorps programs, are underneath the umbrella of Volunteer Louisiana, and Volunteer Louisiana is housed under the Lieutenant Governor's office.”
Adamson said the organization will soon take a trip to the state capital.
“So we are going to Baton Rouge, and they’re going to have some break-out sessions, and we’re going to hang out with some other AmeriCorps’ members and like former AmeriCorps members. We’re going to just hang out and enjoy the day. Then we’re going to have a complete swearing-in and saying the pledge together on the steps of the capitol next Friday,” Adamson said.
AmeriCorps is a difficult organization to join and maintain membership, but the members find fulfillment in it.
“I would recommend AmeriCorps to anyone looking to be a part of a prestigious organization. It's hard work and it takes a lot of sacrifice, I'm not going to lie to you,” AmeriCorps member Adam Cole said. “We are required to fulfill over 450 Volunteer hours in 7-8 months. But, it’s worth it, or I wouldn't have ever come back for a second year.”