Erin Delany ’20 received a We Act Grant for the summer of 2019. Read her testimonial below about her how she worked with the Corporation for National and Community Service.
This summer, I spent two months in Washington, D.C. on a WeAct Grant from the Laspa Center. I was working for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a government agency which supports nonprofits all over the United States and Territories through two overarching programs; AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
I interned at CNCS for the first time in the summer of 2018, after my junior year in college. I was a member of an intern cohort of five, working under the press secretary of CNCS’s Office of External Affairs. That summer I learned how to pitch a story to a reporter and how to format a press release, but I also gained valuable information about the way that CNCS’s National Service programs work.
I was especially interested in AmeriCorps, which provides volunteer opportunities to Americans aged 18 and over, placing them on service tracks that allow them to volunteer on a team and travel the country, create sustainable solutions to fight poverty, or create change as an AmeriCorps member volunteering within a larger nonprofit.
AmeriCorps is one of the largest unsung heroes of American volunteerism. Many Americans are unaware that organizations such as Teach for America, Habitat for Humanity, and City Year are all AmeriCorps programs; others are unaware that AmeriCorps even exists. During the summer of 2018 I had an opportunity to see some of the change that AmeriCorps effects in communities across the country, and I became passionate about increasing Millennial and Generation Z involvement in programs that make a difference in the lives of millions of US residents.
I applied for a WeAct Grant to return to CNCS in the summer of 2019 with the specific aim of working with the Office of External Affairs to increase awareness of AmeriCorps within the Millennial and Gen-Z community. Upon my return to the agency, I was placed in the newly-formed Recruitment Working Group. This position allowed me to collaborate with representatives from various CNCS and AmeriCorps departments to devise ways to streamline AmeriCorps branding, explore new community education techniques, and help grantees to sell the AmeriCorps brand so that we could pique interest in National Service on a local level.
Among my day-to-day responsibilities as a member of CNCS’s Office of External Affairs, I created a running social media calendar for AmeriCorps’ platforms through the end of the year, collected stories from former AmeriCorps members to publish on the National Service 25th Anniversary website, and organized and executed an information session and AmeriCorps alumni panel for 20 students from George Mason University. After the event, I archived the materials we created so that AmeriCorps can utilize them in future educational and promotional events.
Although my project at the Corporation for National and Community Service has long since ended, my work as an ambassador for AmeriCorps is far from finished. Now that I’m back on campus, I constantly speak to my peers about the benefits that a year of service in AmeriCorps can bring. From education awards to priority application statuses for federal jobs, AmeriCorps provides its members with a multitude of post-service education and career options, as well as the leadership skills and sense of global citizenry needed to attain them. My project this summer was one small contribution to an institution that is creating change for millions of people, and I am grateful to the Laspa Center for allowing me to work alongside CNCS this summer.