This AmeriCorps Life: We Get Things Done!

The Corporation for National & Community Service celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with 75,000 Americans actively addressing critical community needs across our country.

In honor of AmeriCorps Week, more than 100 AmeriCorps and VISTA members serving in the region recently gathered at the Kauffman Foundation to celebrate “This AmeriCorps Life.” In Kansas City, there are 14 AmeriCorps organizations working to ensure

  • children can read at grade level
  • low-income and first-generation students know that college is possible
  • the hungry are fed
  • all students attain a quality education
  • lives are enriched
  • individuals can realize their full potential

The AmeriCorps slogan, “We get things done!” resonated from each speaker’s comments as they talked about “their AmeriCorps life.” Each shared what called them to serve in the program and how the experience has enriched and changed their lives – while they were changing the lives of others. They all said they wanted to give back, make the world a better place, ensure equity and opportunity for all and understand the value of a quality education.

The 14 AmeriCorps/VISTA organizations serving in the Kansas City area include:

The 14 AmeriCorps and VISTA programs, including 285 corps members, serving in Kansas City have coalesced this year and, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation, are meeting monthly to build a network, to learn from each other and to consider their next steps after AmeriCorps service.

The Kauffman Foundation provides support to a number of these programs (City Year, The Literacy Lab, Missouri College Advising Corps and Teach for America) and understands that the AmeriCorps talent in Kansas City has tremendous potential to extend beyond the initial years of service.

AmeriCorps provides an opportunity for individuals from across the nation, and from our home community, to live and serve in Kansas City. As the AmeriCorps service term is limited, there is an opportunity to expose AmeriCorps members to potential careers and futures in our town. Think about it:

  1. The AmeriCorps members that serve in our education systems may be our future educators.
  2. The AmeriCorps members that serve at Harvesters or the YMCA may be our future nonprofit leaders.
  3. The AmeriCorps members that provide social/emotional support and ensure safety of our community may be our future regional, state and national leaders.

In fact, Kansas City was recently named an Employer of National Service, which connects Americorps and Peace Corps alumni with employers from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Through this initiative, employers have increased access to a dedicated, highly qualified and mission-oriented pool of potential employees — and national service alumni have additional opportunities to apply their skills in the workplace.

Let’s thank AmeriCorps members for their contribution to our community and encourage these 285 members to stay long after their term is complete.

comments powered by Disqus
Beth Tankersley-Bankhead
Beth Tankersley-Bankhead is a director of postsecondary initiatives in Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she works with grant- and non-grant- related initiatives in the postsecondary space including Kauffman Scholars, Inc., and the development of a new Kansas City Scholars program.