Thank you for your service. A sentiment shared on the morning of Wednesday, November 15th between the Great Oaks NYC AmeriCorps team and Chester Spellman, the newly appointed Director of AmeriCorps for the Corporation for National and Community Service. As the group toured through the Great Oaks’ hallways, observing service members at work, it was impossible not to gain a sense of hope. Young Americans hard at work in an effort to give younger Americans a more robust education. Whether it was the Health and Wealth workshop led by AmeriCorps member Adrienne Jarocki or the one-on-one coaching sessions facilitated by her teammates, Joy Chang, Kevin Chen, and Jake Fernberg – a genuine commitment to service could be found anywhere one looked.
“What are your plans for after your year of service?” Chester asked a small group of AmeriCorps members during a roundtable discussion. After pausing and considering their trajectories, most responded that they were still deciding though definitely wanted service to remain a part of their life. None encapsulated the moment as well as 2nd year AmeriCorps Leader Latoya Hart however, when she said, “I’m not sure but If I have the opportunity to continue to make my community better, and they’ll have me, I’ll do another year of service and even more. I’ll keep doing them!” The response instantly brought a smile to every face in the room.
Before leaving, Chester, accompanied by Christy Venable and Sara Baker from NYC Service, personally thanked each member for their service and the thoughtful discussion. The members returned the gesture of gratitude. And then the school bell rang, sending the AmeriCorps members to their spaces, where they prepared to serve their next set of Great Oaks’ students.
This piece was written by DJ Hartigan, GO – NYC Fellowship Director.
Picture Caption from the left: Latoya Hart (Corps Lead), Daniel Hartigan (Director of the Fellowship), Susan Akselrad (Board Member), Chester Spellman (Director of AmeriCorps for the Corporation for National and Community Service)