On April 1, 2014, Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan recognized the successes of local AmeriCorps programming at an event hosted by the UNCG Center for New North Carolinians. The occasion? The second annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, when mayors across the country take time to thank those who serve and to recognize the value and impact of national service on the nation’s cities.
UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady and Mayor Vaughan opened Tuesday’s event with remarks on the impact of national service on the university and our local community. They then turned the floor over to a panel of AmeriCorps members who shared stories of their service.
“My greatest gift, as a veteran, is being able to give back to veterans through the VetsCorps,” said Lavinia Jackson, who has found fulfillment working with the Interactive Resource Center this year.
Lana Skrypnyk, a Volunteer Coordinator at The Servant Center, described how her efforts with the AmeriCorps Partnership to End Homelessness shifted her worldview and direction in life. “It has allowed me to interact personally with those experiencing homelessness and, upon hearing their stories, I’ve learned that the stereotypes about homeless people are untrue.” The crowd erupted into applause when Lana stated, “Through this experience, I have found my passion for public service and will be attending UNCG’s MPA program in the fall in order to learn how to better serve the public in the future and advocate on behalf of those who cannot advocate on behalf of themselves.”
Anggie Huamani discussed her work with the AmeriCorps ACCESS Project, which helps immigrant and refugee communities gain better access to human services, become economically self-sufficient, and build bridges of understanding between immigrant and mainstream communities. The Greensboro AmeriCorps ACCESS Project is housed within UNCG’s own Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC). “This year, we had 64 members placed at 27 different partner sites providing interpretation and employment services, volunteer recruitment and management, and disaster preparedness education,” shared Anngie.
“ACCESS is the oldest and largestAmeriCorps program in the state of North Carolina,” said Raleigh Bailey, the retired founding director of the CNNC and a speaker at the event. “Almost 1,000 people have served in our AmeriCorpsACCESS program, and many have moved on to professional service positions across the state.
“Serving as an Americorps member is not only an experience, but a life changing event,” Anggie added. “It is not about who you are, it is about what you can be and what you can do for others.”