(ATHENS, Ohio – March 27, 2103)
Once a year, AmeriCorps members around the country come together to
salute other members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps
community partners and celebrate the impact of AmeriCorps on both
the communities and on the lives of those who serve.
The 21 AmeriCorps members completing
their year of service with OU-HCOM’s COMCorps, and the 14 AmeriCorps
members serving with Rural Action’s Ohio Stream Restore Corps (OSRC),
celebrated AmeriCorps Week by taking part in a retreat on March 15
and 16 at the Vinton County Experimental Forest in Vinton County,
Ohio, to learn, network and celebrate.
This year’s theme, “AmeriCorps Works,”
reflects the positive impact that AmeriCorps has on the recipients
of service, the people who serve, the community and the nation.
Many AmeriCorps members move on to
pursue careers in the non-profit sector, so grant writing was a
special focus of the first day of the retreat. A group of
experienced grant writers including Michelle Decker, executive
director of Rural Action; Louise DiLullo, director of Live Healthy
Appalachia; Kathy Trace, director of OU-HCOM Community Health
Programs; Susan Urano, executive director of the Athens Foundation;
and Gary Goosman, senior program director for the Corporation for
Ohio Appalachian Development, were all on hand to help members
improve their grant writing skills and share stories of their
successes and failures in raising funds for their organizations.
“It was great to see the members start
the weekend by putting on their thinking caps and diving deep in to
the mysterious worlds of grants,” said COMCorps Director Lauren
Borovicka. “The collective knowledge of the guest speakers,
supervisors and AmeriCorps members was vast and truly demonstrated
the power of AmeriCorps.”
The first day ended with members
convening around the campfire to enjoy s’mores and hot dogs while
Nancy Schell, former COMCorps director, facilitated a “Justice
Talking” session. Despite cold temperatures, some members decided to
camp outside in tents.
On Saturday, members had the
opportunity to participate in a variety of learning activities, such
as the healthy cooking demonstration, where members were encouraged
to sample banana-kale smoothies and homemade hummus, the watershed
and ecosystem workshop, facilitated by Amy Mackey of Raccoon Creek
Watershed, and a hike through the forest with Rural Action’s
environmental education coordinator, Joe Brehm.
"I enjoyed the expertise swapping
between Rural Action and COMCorps members,” said Lyndsay Coleman, a
COMCorps member. “A highlight for me was the chance to show off our
skills and learn from each other, notably about land management,
cerulean warblers and the elusive salamander. The bonus was that all
of this occurred away from it all, in the woods, in a span of a
fantastic 36 hours."
To keep in alignment with Rural
Action’s mission of conserving natural resources, the retreat was a
“Zero Waste Weekend.” In order for an event to be considered zero
waste, 90 percent of waste had to be diverted. To achieve this,
members were asked to bring their own plates and silverware, and
leftover food was composted.
Rural Action AmeriCorps Director Candi
Withem believes that it was beneficial to have COMCorps and Rural
Action come together for the retreat. “It was great to see both
COMCorps and OSRC members getting to know one another and possibly
collaborate for future activities. I think this event will have a
lasting positive effect on both programs,” she said.
was also pleased with the weekend. “The AmeriCorps programs consider
the retreat to be a huge success. We were so happy that members,
supervisors and alumni all came out to celebrate, collaborate and
cross-educate. We hope to make the retreat a yearly event,” she
said. “We are especially thankful to the U.S. Forest Service for
allowing us to play on the beautiful property and learn about the
COMCorps is an AmeriCorps program
housed in the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic
COMCorps’ mission is to provide health education and access to
health care and health screenings for children and families in
members serve an 11-month term packed with 1,700 hours of
life-changing experience serving others. COMCorps service members
are active in schools and agencies as they deliver health-related
programs and implement health-related projects. Many of our COMCorps
participants go on to pursue careers in medicine and health care.
is supported by ServeOhio (www.serveohio.org),
the state's commission on service and volunteerism, and local
About Rural Action’s Ohio Stream
Restore Corps (OSRC)
OSRC is an AmeriCorps
program facilitated through Rural Action, an organization whose
mission is to foster social, economic and environmental justice in
AmeriCorps members serve in the following program areas: Monday
Creek Restoration Project, Sunday Creek Watershed Group, Huff Run
Watershed Restoration Partnership, Leading Creek Improvement
Committee, Raccoon Creek Partnership, Mud Run Stream Keepers,
Environmental Education, Zero Waste Initiative and Buckeye Trails
members serve a term of 12 months and accumulate a total of 1,700
AmeriCorps Fast Facts:
Number of individuals who have served as AmeriCorps members since
Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.
Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by
Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps
members in 2012.
Number of nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations that
AmeriCorps members serve with.
Value of non-CNCS cash and in-kind donations leveraged by AmeriCorps
programs in 2010