Adopt-A-Family Story

The Miami AmeriCorps Alums adopted a family for the holidays with the Neighbor 4 Neighbors Adopt-A-Family program. The below is an short excerpt from one of our leading Chapter members, Diana, as she describes the moment she handed the gifts to the Ruiz family on behalf of all of us.  We want to thank everyone who contributed to make the holidays special for the Ruiz family and the rest of us alums. We wish everyone a blessed holiday season and a joyous New Year:
Adopt a Family December 2012

“First of all Happy Holidays, a big hug to all! There are many things I would like to talk about, yet I will  start with congratulating all for a Christmas mission accomplished!  The Ruiz family received their wish list thanks to all the contributions from the chapter.

I delivered the gifts with as much Christmas magic I could muster. In accordance  to the smiles and laughs produced I must say it had a positive effect.  I had several conversations with Clara in between lunch breaks and after hours in regards to making the present giving meaningful to the girls.  In the end, there was a lot of impromptu, and I had to wing it with some curve balls. Yet, it all smoothed out in the end, and we all had a good time.

I gave the girls 3 presents they could open right away.  The Play-Do candy making kit was a hit! Even the dad was into it!  In the meantime Clara and I sneaked out and placed the rest of the gifts outside.

A few minutes later,  there was a mysterious knock and the girls went out to see who it was… only to find out that Santa had left a table full of presents. They each took one and placed it under the tree.  We then ate some tamales, which where delicious! And I played with the girls a bit and took the Christmas tree photo.

To finish distributing the rest of the gifts in tradition of Three Kings Day, all the girls and mom put out one of their shoes so it could get stuffed with a present. Alicia the soon-to-be-5-year-old was the designated King’s messenger and placed a gift card in each of the designated shoes.  She was the most adorable little helper. She thought it was hilarious, and hid all the shoes behind the tree one by one.

I then said my goodbyes and left home with two tamalitos for breakfast.

I truly wished life was such that we could have all been there together, yet I know the Holiday spirit of giving follows this group year long.  Thanks for all the holiday cheer and spirit.  May you all be blessed with plenty of happiness and abundance everyday of your lives.

Felices fiestas to all Prospero an^o y felicidad!!!!!!!!!!!!”


A great holiday story from the AmeriCorps Alums National Blog.

A Lifetime Of Service

Today’s guest post is from Volunteer Mississippi and originally posted on December 12, 2012.

Eight years ago, Dwight Owens was a 23-year old teacher and football coach. He was content in his life and career. Dwight’s way of life screeched to a halt when he was hit by a drunk driver in August, 2005. Owens’ spine was severed, and his internal injuries were so severe, doctors did not expect him to survive. Dwight stayed in the hospital for nearly a year, first on life support; then Intensive Care; and then finally beginning his road to recovery.

Permanently paralyzed from the waist down, Dwight spent two years in a constant cycle of rehabilitation, surgery and medical set-backs, but an indomitable will and deep faith kept him focused.

Dwight took the life he nearly lost and dedicated it toward serving others.

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Project Ubuntu in the House!

A Alum Thursday 12-13-2012 ubuntu group

The Miami AmeriCorps Alums had a special guest on Thursday. Daniel Becton, founder of Project Ubuntu, paid a visit to Salsa Fiesta to talk about his organization and the good work he is doing throughout the country.

Project Ubuntu visits, celebrates and supports people in one community in every state and Washington, D.C. who embody “ubuntu” through their commitment to service. Project Ubuntu firmly believes that such individuals transcend class and ethnic categories and  connects them with a massive network of goodwill by telling their stories and mobilizing a contagion of kindness.

Project Ubuntu will spend one week in one community from each state and Washington, D.C., spanning 51 diverse urban and rural communities between Aug. 26, 2012 and Aug. 24, 2013. Daniel will cover 16,000 miles of American road and will also fly to Hawaii and Alaska.

We were honored to have Daniel spend his Thursday evening with us and share his message of connecting with and serving others. We strongly encourage everyone to follow Daniel on his blog and on twitter.

Check out Salsa Fiesta every Thursday at 7:00 or so as we hang out, eat burritos and build community through service.

The Results Are In! Meet Our 2013 Officers!!


After two weeks of nominations and voting, the 2013 Miami AmeriCorps Alum Leadership Team has been decided! Congratulations to our elected officers and thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate and vote for some really outstanding individuals! 2013 is looking to be a big year for AmeriCorps Alums in Miami and throughout the nation. Together, we are going to make a difference in Miami and beyond.

  • President: Kevin Bulger
  • Vice-President: Vanessa Christiansen
  • Secretary: Michael Brennan
  • Service Chair: Darrill Gaschler
  • Leadership Chair: Sean Dollard
  • Mentorship Chair: Catherine Houlihan
  • Awareness Chair: Victoria Edwards
  • Connecting Chair: Naomi Ross

If you were nominated but did not win a seat – you are still a winner in our book! Stay tuned as further ways to lead our Chapter open up shortly!

City Year Miami Alumni Fundraiser

CYM Alum 12-6-2012 6

City Year Miami Alumni hosted their Second Annual Fundraiser to raise funds for a spring service weekend on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at the Filling Station & Garage Bar.

The event featured trivia, cool sunglasses, and great friends.

City Year is an education focused, nonprofit organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation.

City Year alumni are leaders who achieve larger impact and strive to address pressing public problems in their local communities.

Miami Public Allies Alum Event

Public Allies Alum 12-6-2012

Miami Public Allies, a national service and AmeriCorps cousin, hosted an alumni get together on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at City Hall the Restaurant to continue a legacy of service in Miami. From the Miami Public Allies Website:

Since 2007, we’ve developed more than 100 young leaders. Allies are young, diverse, and passionate social change makers who support community projects in partnership with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations. Our group helps to develop the required leadership skills needed for our members to have succesfull and sustainable projects. We do this by placing young and developing leaders in local nonprofit organizations for 10-month apprenticeships.”

Public Allies are hosted by Catalyst Miami, a leader in connecting people to purpose in our community. Check out the below graphic describing Public Allies Alums in detail:

Public Allies Alum 12-6-2012 2

And the Nominees Are……


And the Nominees Are

The Nominees for the Miami AmeriCorps Alums were announced today. Click on the link here to cast your vote. Without further ado, the nominees are…

  1. President = a) Kevin Bulger and b)write-in
  2. Vice-President = a) Vanessa Christiansen and b) write-in
  3. Secretary = a) Diana Aranda; b) Mike Brennan; and c) Jaheera White
  4. Treasurer = a) write in only
  5. Service Chair = a) Darrill Gaschler; b) Catherine Houlihan; and c) Vanessa Christainsen
  6. Leadership Chair = a) Sean Dollard; b) Darrill Gaschler; c) Mike Brennan; and d) Jaheera White
  7. Mentorship Chair = a) Catherine Houlihan; b) Sean Dollard; and c) Katherine Baas
  8. Awareness Chair = a) Naomi Ross; b) Diana Aranda; c) Victoria Edwards
  9. Connecting Chair = a) Naomi Ross; b) Mike Brennan; c) Victoria Edwards