'Young Americans are eager to help'
Warwick resident Krissy Mahon continues service in Americorps Civilian Community Corps
WARWICK — Warwick resident Kristen Mahon has graduated from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), wrapping up ten months of community service nationwide.
Kristen was one of 234 AmeriCorps NCCC members honored at the Pacific Region campus located in Sacramento, California. During their term of service, corps members completed more than 130 projects. Corps members worked on teams of 10-12 and were deployed throughout the western part of the country, including California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Kristen is a 2008 graduate of John S. Burke Catholic High School. Then she graduated from Monmouth University in 2013 with a degree in elementary education and history.
AmeriCorps NCCC is a team-based, residential program. Kristen moved to Sacramento, California, to start the program in October 2013. Sacramental is the site of one of AmeriCorps’s five campuses nationwide. The nature of AmeriCorps NCCC program is that once trained, teams travel to serve in various communities.
Among the projects completed at the Pacific Region were: fire response with the U.S. Forest Service; income tax return preparation; building homes with Habitat for Humanity; serving as camp counselors; and invasive species removal.
In her own words
The Warwick Advertiser contacted Kristen to ask her about her experience. Here is what she wrote back:
"I decided to do AmeriCorps NCCC because even though I just graduated college, I felt it was important to give back to communities around the country before I settled into a job.
"I think young Americans are eager to help others and I believe there are so many great people and communities in our country that would benefit from our help.
"It was amazing to travel around the West Coast, performing different service projects with my team because I met so many inspiring people, saw beautiful sites and did things that I would never have gotten to do without AmeriCorps.
"During my service term, I completed five projects for different non-profit organizations with my team, which was comprised of nine other people from across the US. Our projects were:
"Palos Verdes Land Conservancy in Palos Verdes, California. We worked on four preserves removing invasive species, planting native flora and helping to protect four at-risk species on the preserves.
"Self-Help Enterprises in Visalia, California, helping low-income families - who were mostly migrant farm workers and immigrants - build homes. This was a great project as the team was able to work alongside the families while building their homes, getting to know their stories and learning about their culture.
"Our third project was with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho at Camp Four Echoes. We helped the camp supervisor prepare the camp for the summer season, mainly performing trail maintenance, building new storage shelters and renovating an old building into a new camp counselor lounge.
"We worked at Camp Tahquitz in the San Bernardino mountains, which is a Boy Scouts camp. There, we focused on creating new trails for the campers to hike.
"Our final project was at the National Chavez Center in Keene, California. We worked with the Cesar Chavez Foundation, helping them to improve the site while working on the trails there. It was great to work there because of the rich history of Chavez's efforts with farm workers in California. When we built homes in Visalia, the families we served were mostly Spanish-speaking farm workers so this project really brought everything full circle.
"In September, I'll be returning to AmeriCorps for a national program called the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers. I will be working in schools in Orlando, Florida, helping to tutor low-income and immigrant students and also teaching GED and citizenship classes to adults at night.
"I am really excited to work with the Mission Volunteer program because they emphasize the value of an education and the fact that it can lead to so many opportunities, regardless of your background. I will be combining my degree in Education with service and I couldn't be happier."
For more information about AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, visit NationalService.gov.
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