Written by Kevin R. Bulger, AmeriCorps Alums Miami Chapter Treasurer
My passion for service and civic engagement predominantly stems from my experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Collins Center for Public Policy in 2007. You may know AmeriCorps as the “domestic version of Peace Corps,” where individuals enlist for one year–for not a lot of money–to help empower and improve the conditions for the under-served and disadvantaged in our own backyard. In Miami-Dade County, over 700 people serve every year. My experience not only taught me a lot about the needs of Miami’s communities, but also taught me a great deal of life lessons too long and personal to get into here.
I left AmeriCorps after one term and found employment with a few non-profit organizations, but the work I have found most rewarding is volunteering with the Miami AmeriCorps Alums.
I’m proud to say that the Miami AmeriCorps Alums organization is a signature, best-practice chapter. Our objective is to provide pathways for leadership through service projects so that the lessons of AmeriCorps (taking action, finding common ground and persevering) are carried throughout our lifetimes.We host weekly volunteer projects at the Regis House, weekly socials and project planning sessions, and monthly leadership meetings designed to engage and inspire AmeriCorps alums to build upon their careers in public service. Some of our achievements have been members becoming elected officials, 800+ volunteer hours donated each year and many special events and forums specifically designed by Miami AmeriCorps Alums.
Miami is blessed to have a wide range of AmeriCorps programs focusing on issues related to disaster response, education, environmental sustainability, poverty relief, community service and civic engagement. However, with this diversity of interests comes the challenge of establishing common ground. It is our hope to better unite national service programs to get things done in Miami.
One way you can help us is to attend or donate to our fundraiser on Saturday, October 27 in Brickell so that we can build better bridges between our spectacular local AmeriCorps programs. A donation of $25 will help us a great deal in achieving our mission of building community through a lifetime of service.