I don’t know if you’ve heard, but certain recent events have called into question the future of Americorps. Now, as current federal employees we’re not allowed to formally “lobby” on either side of this issue, so I would never ask you to do that. However, speaking as a VISTA, I think one of the biggest problems of AmeriCorps as a whole is people simply do not know what it is, who we are, or what work we are doing in the community.
Even the AmeriCorps Pledge doesn’t help clarify things- “Getting things done” for Americorps doesn’t exactly spell it out.
So, here’s my simple proposal, fellow VISTAs: let’s write our own history. In the age of social media and such interconnectedness, there’s no reason for us to remain silent. At the very least we can tell OUR OWN stories, and maybe we can inspire others to take the less-trodden path and dedicate themselves to serving others. Maybe we can ensure that public service remains a priority in this country.
How can we do this? Simple: combine the many voices of VISTAs into one, forming a Captain Planet of service that represents the work we do in our communities and shows how we combat poverty in our country. And just as each of the Planeteers brought their own Elements to the mix, this call includes VISTAs from across the spectrum of service.
Luckily, this isn’t an effort we have to lead on our own, as AmeriCorps has issued such a call in a new effort they are calling “My AmeriCorps Story,” where they are asking all AmeriCorps members to post short video sin response to a new “chapter,” or question, every month. This effort will be kicking off in earnest during AmeriCorps Week next month, and you can find more details on their Facebook page.
How can you contribute? Simple. Put together a short video in response to their “chapter” of the month, the first of which is “I joined AmeriCorps Because _____________.” Now while this is a pretty broad question it’s a great opportunity to give insight into the different motivations that bring people to a year of service. Anyone interested in submitting a video should record it and post it to their Facebook page.
I’m also interested in posting some of the best bits here on VISTA Pulse, so if you send in a story, send a link to me on Twitter @miketewing or via email at miketewing [at] gmail . com. If you need some help, I’ve put together a Wiki as part of my service project that highlights some tips and tricks for producing quality videos. Finally, you can see my own response to this prompt in the video below. Feel free to leave any comments or links to your own works.
Yours in service,