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AmeriCorps Alumni Ambassadors

 

What are AmeriCorps Alumni Ambassadors?

Similar to current AmeriCorps members who serve as AmeriCorps Brand Ambassadors, Alumni Ambassadors are previous AmeriCorps members who are interested in sharing their stories of service and how their experiences have shaped them as well as their careers. This will allow the public to really get to see the impact that AmeriCorps service has on its members. Each Brand Ambassador will be featured for a whole week on MCCS’s social media outlets.

Follow us on Facebook to hear their stories of service in Maine: MCCS - VolunteerMaine.

 

 

 

Meet Our Summer 2018 AmeriCorps Alumni Ambassadors

 

 

Jonathan Barczyk
AmeriCorps VISTA Alum in Maine, Washington, and Colorado

Jonathan Barczyk is the Chief of Voluntary Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Maine Healthcare System, one of the largest centralized volunteer programs in the federal government. He began working with the VA as a Voluntary Service Specialist in 2013. He made his way into federal service in 2011 as a Program Assistant with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Vermont. He served in 2009 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Marketing and Communications Specialist with the Southwest Conservation Corps in Colorado. He then served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the Washington Service Corps in Washington state.

 

 

Orion Breen
AmeriCorps VISTA Alum, Hour Exchange Portland, Maine

When I was younger I loved exploring the attic and boxes of old National Geographic magazines, the maps were my favorite. It inspired me to draw maps of the woods behind our house in rural Maine, no doubt horrendously out of scale and biased by what fallen trees make the best forts. It also inspired me to become an AmeriCorps VISTA. I discovered there are adventures everywhere, especially in your own backyard - that is the spirit of AmeriCorps to me.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA at Hour Exchange Portland I learned just about everything about running a small nonprofit from writing grants to organizing board meetings, budgeting, recruiting volunteers and organizing events. I also learned what it was like to stand in line and apply for food stamps. A big part of the experience is living with the people you are serving, not inhabiting a level above and looking down. It was very cool to help Hour Exchange Portland receive national attention, but the most meaningful thing to me was having member leaders tell me they found confidence and skills they never realized they had. Hour Exchange Portland, a community service time-bank of neighbors helping neighbors, is founded on the principle of reciprocity. I can honestly say that they helped me as much as I helped them.

I’ve carried what I learned with me and I find the same spirit of service and reciprocity in my current work at MEMIC, which has the mission of bringing employers and employees together to make workplaces safer. Last fall, MEMIC gave me the opportunity to be a United Way of Greater Portland loaned executive and I was not surprised to see the impact of AmeriCorps everywhere in my community. I encourage everyone to explore AmeriCorps opportunities to discover the amazing things happening in Maine, which really is just one big backyard. Your experience will be unique and special to you. I can't tell you what you will find, you will be off the map, in uncharted territory. I can only promise you that you will be challenged, you will be changed and you will be the better for it.

 

 

Gordon Liu
AmeriCorps Alum, Goodwill Community Resource Corps, Maine

Gordon Liu is a three-term AmeriCorps Alum, having served in both Minnesota and Maine. While in Maine, Gordon served through Goodwill's Community Resource Corps with Youthlinks in Rockland. Gordon has served as the founder of the Midcoast Maine Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, commissioner to the Maine Commission for Community Service, and Franklin Project Ambassador (now through the Service Year Alliance). Gordon now lives in Minnesota with his wife Erin, a fellow AmeriCorps Alum. Together, they founded Two Thousand Hours, a new nonprofit dedicated to reimagining the national service experience.

 

 

Rachel Phifer
AmeriCorps Alum, Maine Conservation Corps

I joined the Maine Conservation Corps for the Fall 2017 term. I was a recent college grad and had no clue what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I loved to be outside, so I decided to try a term with MCC. I moved from small town Iowa to the beautiful state of Maine and from there my life was greatly changed. Because of MCC, I have started work on a trail crew for the US Forest Service and so many great opportunities have come my way.

 

 

 

Luke Shorty
AmeriCorps Alum, Maine Conservation Corps

Luke Shotry hails from the town of Fairfield, and has a passion for education, leadership, volunteering, the outdoors, and Maine. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Mathematical Science from both Montana State University and University of Maine Farmington. He got hooked on service when he joined AmeriCorp through the Maine Conservation Corp where he did copious amounts of trail work and spent months out in the wilderness. For the last decade Luke has been leading schools and educating students through out the State of Maine, most recently at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics.