AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Playworks started our partnership with AmeriCorps in 2004. Since then, we have received over nine million dollars in funding support and 1,071 members have contributed almost two million hours of service.
This year, Playworks Minnesota is proud to have nine Americorps members serving more than 13,000 hours during the 2016-17 school year. Here are some of the AmeriCorps members explaining what service means to them.
To me, serving for AmeriCorps as a Playworks coach is all about the consistency I bring to the kids I work with every day. This year with Playworks, I’m the flex program coordinator which means I rotate between eight different Playworks schools with their own AmeriCorps coach. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at each of our schools so I get to see many examples of the difference we make in the lives of the kids we work with.
One of the coolest things to me is when I get to see kids from another school who have moved and are now going to another Playworks school. These kids’ lives are often defined by the instability they experience, but when they leave a Playworks school and end up at another Playworks school, I see them excel because there is finally a constant in their situation. They’re sad to have left their old school but being at a Playworks school provides them with so much happiness, consistency, and joy. And, I get to be a part of this process!
As an AmeriCorps Playworks coach, I am a definite source of happiness, consistency, and joy. These kids get to their new school and they have a new, awesome Playworks coach on their side. They are encouraged right away to join a game at recess that they already know the rules to. They are included in games and respected by the kids around them, and they become part of a healthy recess and school community. All of these things culminate at recess and throughout the day to make that first day, and every day after, as great as they can be.
For all the happiness and consistency I provide to the kids, I receive meaning in my work and a sense of pride in knowing the difference I make. I get to spend every long day of the school year serving communities and kids that couldn’t be happier to have me playing games with them. I think this service is impacting me as much as I’m impacting the communities I serve.
Being a part of AmeriCorps has been such an amazing opportunity and privilege. I graduated from college with a degree in educational studies with an emphasis in physical education. When I graduated, I did not have a teaching license but I wanted to work in education. AmeriCorps has given me the opportunity to serve a school community and work with students and further my experience in education.
I was offered the chance to serve with AmeriCorps for a third year and I accepted because I love serving this school and this community. My service in this school and community doesn’t seem like service at all. It feels like I belong and I am accepted into this community. Service to me means that I give my time and I help out without expecting anything in return. I am so glad I chose to serve for a third year and that I get to spend time with my students and my school community.
I am honored to be recognized in AmeriCorps Week! I grew up going to nonprofit summer camps for ten years as a child. My camp counselors were my heroes. Twenty years later, I still remember the names of all ten of the camp counselors I had over the years even though they were only in my life for a week. I looked up to them more than they may ever know. As a child, I dreamed that I could be that same kind of figure in children’s lives.
AmeriCorps has given me the chance to do that and more. Currently, I am in my second year of service and have served in communities that are socially and economically challenged. Many of these children do not have very many positive role models in their lives. Seeing the admiration and smiles from the children that I serve and their families lets me know that I AM fulfilling my dream. Through Americorps, the dream I have held and the service to which I am now committed to are part of my identity. I am AmeriCorps.
Since I joined AmeriCorps I realized how big of an impact that AmeriCorps has in the community. I have been working with youth for the past ten years and I did so many things to try and help our youth who are lost. I had lost my focus and forgot what my passion was. Since I joined AmeriCorps and Playworks, I have found my passion again by following the example of the kids and having fun through play. Through fun and play, I have learned many skills that will stick with myself and these kids for the rest of our lives.
Interested in becoming a Playworks AmeriCorps member? Learn more!