Since the summer of 2015 I have had the joy and privilege of serving as the Program Director of CAC AmeriCorps, a program of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC). This opportunity has been the realization of over a decade of involvement in national service, first as a member, then as a grant reviewer and site supervisor. Through this role I have the unique opportunity to work with the most complex systems on the planet, people, building capacity in the communities we serve, through a national service framework while they earn money for college and gain experience through a broad range of issue-driven projects.
At the end of the day, it’s about helping people find purpose and focus in being part of something greater than themselves.
During my tenure I have leveraged $2,640,000 in federal funding and local match, with an 8% increase in funding during my first year and then an additional 11% during my second. I diversified programming to represent all branches of national service including AmeriCorps State/National, VISTA and NCCC and have grown service opportunities through CAC AmeriCorps to their highest levels since the programs creation in 1994 allowing for 49 full member service years (MSY), or over 83,300 hours of national service annually maintaining a 100% recruitment and an average 93.5% retention rate. In addition, I have provided direct supervision to 2 staff, 1 VISTA Leader and oversight and accountability for up to 49 members ranging in age (18 to 55) and experience (high school to PHD) at 31 partner sites in Knox, Blount, Anderson and Sevier Counties in East Tennessee.
Through these opportunities, I have the opportunity to watch members push themselves to do remarkable things during their term(s). From a quantitative perspective, our members manage thousands of volunteers on an annual basis extending the value of the AmeriCorps impact in the region by an estimated 10,000 volunteer hours, or approximately $210,000 in in-kind volunteer serve. From a qualitative perspective, members tutor urban youth, provide job training, teach children about watershed science and work together to build capacity in our community to address important social and environmental issues.
If you have a community organization addressing environmental issues, economic issues or food security issues here in East Tennessee and would like to partner with CAC AmeriCorps to host one or more AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA or AmeriCorps*NCCC members, please do not hesitate to contact me. If there is a community need that you see going unmet and would like to discuss how CAC AmeriCorps members could be utilized to address it, contact me and if you are looking to find an avenue to make a difference in the world around you through national service, get in touch. We are almost always recruiting.