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APRIL 18, 2013









Elite Team Raven One Is Getting Things Done

Alumni Spotlight

Health & Wellness

Photo Gallery

Sarah Russo, Corps Member North Central Region, Class XV

Raven 5 Builds Team Cohesion Through Health & Wellness

Spring Cleaning, NCCC Style

MEMBER STATEMENT I’m a member of the National Civilian Community Corps, an AmeriCorps Program. N-Triple-C members are 18 to 24 and spend 10 months getting things done for America while developing their own leadership. We serve on teams to help communities prepare for and respond to disasters, build homes, and help the environment. To learn more or apply, visit or call 1.800.942.2677


ISSUE 3 Feature Story Getting Things Done with Elite Team


Raven One. A team sets high standards while aiding disaster

Sam McKenzie, Community Relations Specialist (CRS) Phone: 202.528.3755 ● Email:

victims in New York. 5 Alumni Spotlight

Mona Hillstrand, Assistant Community Relations Specialist (ACRS) Phone: 202.815.4259 ● Email: Ben Dillon, Community Relations Support Team Leader (CRSTL) Phone: 443.995.7940 ● Email: Get to the Point is a weekly newsletter edited and designed by Ben Dillon, CRSTL

Sarah Russo, Corps Member Class XV, North Central Region 6 Bulletin Board Vehicle Safety Tips ISP Update 7 Health & Wellness

Raven 5 builds cohesion through health and wellness practices

↑ Top: (Left) The Moose 1 team meets Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulsi, the “godmother” of AmeriCorps, during a service event at the White House. (Right) Buffalo 1 Team Leader Jeff Smith meets Marky Ramone, former member of iconic punk band The

8 Shout Outs 9 Gallery

Ramones, during a work day with Habitat for Humanity Westchester in Breezy Point, N.Y. ← Cover: Raven 1 has adopted the nickname “Elite Team Raven 1” not to be boastful, but to set a standard of excellence for their service term. Here, Raven 1 member Kayla Lickey models as a modern day “Rosie the Riveter,” replete with Tyvek coveralls.

10 Team Project Map



a well-known fact that elitists are competitive by nature and answer the call of duty to the letter. However, there is another side to that story and that would be the tale of Raven One. Raven One is a team known for being a diverse group of people from different nationalities and backgrounds, age variation and specialties. Some are college graduates or Job Corps graduates, while others are taking their first few steps away from home. All are and will be forever be welcomed in the group. This is their new home, the foundation on which they can place their trust, and a place to create a shining new future. Raven One prides itself on charter upkeep, integrity, strong work ethics, sarcasm and an unstoppable will power to achieve, establish and raise the bar higher than we found it. Although the group has yet to complete their first project spike, there isn’t a soul on campus or on the project sites where they have worked that don’t know every member’s name. They leave impressions on minds and on hearts by communicating within the team, learning the norms of other communities, being flexible, working as a team, preparing, executing and being able to smile no matter how treacherous the work can be. For the last five weeks, the squad of Ravens has been doing demolition work, mucking, and gutting, dehumidifying, vacuuming dust from crevasses and decontaminating. All of these tasks were absolutely necessary for the sole purpose of removing mold and harmful contaminates. Left unaddressed, contaminates would be harmful for floors, plumbing, structural integrity and general health of the residents. From a financial point of view, the work of the team can save the homeowner up to a third of the cost of contract work due to labor and untimely mold removal.

getting things done with

elite team raven one

For Round 1, Raven 1 members have worked with New York Cares to supervise and conduct mold remediation of homes in Rockaway, N.Y. that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Continued on page 4

floodwaters late last year. Above, wearing Tyvek coveralls and respirator masks, Raven 1 members and community volunteers remove a water-damaged floor with crow bars.



FEATURE Continued from page 3 We hope to rehabilitate 15 homes during our spike round. We have serviced a minimum of three homes per week. Our project was uniquely located in the Rockaway neighborhood of New York City and our sister team, Raven 4, was housed with us. This made things easier on our storming sessions as we had vents and fresh attitudes to affirm or challenge us (for which Raven One is always eager). New York Cares is our sponsor this round. We function as a catalyst, an extension, and a representative of New York Cares by helping their availability to expand and multiply. That gave them time to plan, confer and dispatch. Many homes on which we worked are occupied by elderly or disabled residents who have lived there for the majority of their lives. What we do here matters. How we conduct ourselves ripples out into the community at large. It becomes apparent when, at the end of the day, the homeowners thank you with a hug and eyes full of joyous tears. We have learned that many of the homes affected by Hurricane Sandy housed entire families for generations and that this community is a true melting pot of diverse cultures living amongst one another. The community came together and was strengthened by this disaster and we witnessed firsthand the prevailing spirit of the people of New York to rebuild communities. Our team commits to be more. Will you?

“What we do here matters. How we conduct ourselves ripples out into the community at large. It becomes apparent when, at the end of the day, the homeowners thank you with a hug and eyes full of joyous tears.”

↑ (Top) The Raven 1 team poses for its first picture following “team reveal” near the beginning of Corps Training Institute. (Above left) Raven 1 member Nicole Allen retrieves cleaning materials from a stockpile of supplies at a work site in New York. (Above right) Raven 1 member Cameron Smith takes a break from mold remediation work while donning Tyvek coveralls and other personal protective equipment.




“My team was like a second family to me.”

sarah russo class xv alumna north central region

by ian slingsby corps ambassador buffalo 2


f you enter the town of Schoharie, N.Y., it may seem like a place of few people. But when disaster strikes, the community bonds together and expands, with people coming from all over the county and beyond. That’s how Sarah Russo came to be in Schoharie, and how Buffalo 2 met her. When we found out she was here, we couldn’t wait to have her come over to our little temporary home in Breakabeen for dinner with the team. She even helped make the brownies (her one true weakness)! Our team couldn’t wait to bombard her with questions. Sarah was a Class XV Corps Member on team Oak 2 in the North Central Region. As a member of the inaugural class for Vinton, she had an exciting year. If you ask her about it, she’ll regale you with stories of canoeing from Iowa to South Dakota, or of the “lovely” time the team got infected by scabies. During her service term, she had four unique rounds involving a diversity of experiences, including a disaster deployment. Her favorite round happened to be in Iowa at the Ushers Ferry Historic Village Museum. During the round, she learned plenty about local

history and saw many fascinating objects. More importantly, she gained valuable new skills, such as database management. Although she had fun, her year in NCCC inevitably came to an end and she was happy to go home. She would, however, miss her team and experiences, going as far as saying, “My team was like a second family to me.” She had learned plenty from her year. She shared with us how she learned to get along with people, how she grew up and matured, and how she gained new skills, including writing press releases as a Media Representative. It was an experience unlike any other, even if she got a little stir-crazy every now and then, as she said. After her time in NCCC, Sarah went back to school. Little did she know, her time in AmeriCorps wasn’t over. After finishing school, she found out that SALT (Schoharie Area Long Term recovery program) was looking for AmeriCorps VISTA members. Being from nearby in New York, she applied and got the position.

Russo with her Oak 2 team at the Ushers Ferry Historic Village Museum in Iowa.

→ (Following page) Russo canoed from Iowa to South Dakota during her Class XV service term.

Continued on page 6




Continued from page 5 She now works with SALT as a VISTA member and continues helping with the ongoing disaster recovery here in Schoharie, doing things such as working with the donation database (a skill she learned while in NCCC).

Support Team Leaders Tour the Winterthur Gardens in Delaware

Vehicle Safety Tip of the Week Inspect your van’s drive belts

for cracks. If you hear a screeching noise coming from under the hood—especially when you start your car on a cold morning or when making a sharp turn, you might have a loose belt.

finish Crossing the Round 1 in first is it line, the Moose Un mplete place for the race to co urs. Independent Service Ho e

“To desire and strive to be of some service to the world, to aim at doing something which shall really increase the happiness and welfare and virtue of mankind—this is a choice which is possible for all of us; and surely it is a good haven to sail for.” - Henry Van Dyke



ISP Hours Complet Moose: 20.39 % Raven: 18.31 % Buffalo: 17.73 %

When Sarah left us for the night, she made sure to leave behind some of her alumna wisdom, giving us many tips and warnings for our year. First, she said, “Everyone has different strengths and different weaknesses.” Second, “There will be days where you do the same thing all day, so be prepared and have fun!” And third, “Do what it takes to stay sane. For example, sometimes when people went out, I stayed in and relaxed.” Overall, Sarah enjoyed her year as an AmeriCorps NCCC member. She never would have gotten to where she is today without it. She says NCCC truly made her appreciate what she has. When she drove off into the night, a little bit of that alumna wisdom was passed on to Buffalo 2.




Total Time: 50 minutes

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion and garlic and cook, stirring


occasionally, until soft and fragrant,

         

about 3 minutes. Add beans, paprika

1/2 cup water

and ground cumin and mash the

1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

beans to a smooth paste with a

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

potato masher or fork. Transfer the

1/2 cup chopped red onion

mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly.

1 clove garlic, minced

Add the quinoa, 3 tablespoons

2 1/2 c. cooked pinto beans, drained

cilantro, 3 tablespoons cornmeal, 1/2

1 tsp. smoked paprika 1/2 tsp. ground toasted cumin seeds

teaspoon salt and pepper; stir. 3.

Coat them evenly with the remaining

3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup cornmeal and transfer to a

3 tbsp. cornmeal, plus 1/3 c. for

baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20

coating burgers

         

1/2 tsp. salt

Form the bean mash into 6 patties.

minutes. 4.

To prepare guacamole: Mash avocado with a potato masher or

Freshly ground pepper to taste

fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro,

6 wheat hamburger buns, toasted

lemon juice, 2 teaspoons onion,

1 ripe avocado

garlic, cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro


1 tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 200°F.

2 tsp. finely chopped red onion


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-

1 clove garlic, minced 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp. salt

iron (or similar heavy) skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 burgers until heated through and brown and crisp on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side.


Transfer to the oven to keep warm.


Bring water to a boil in a small

Cook the remaining 3 burgers with the

saucepan. Add quinoa and return to

remaining 1 tablespoon oil, reducing

a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover

the heat as necessary to prevent

and cook until the water has been

overbrowning. Serve the burgers on

absorbed, about 10 minutes. Uncover

buns with lettuce, tomato and the

and let stand.


Health & Wellness Builds Team Cohesion By Melodie Briscoe, Raven 5 What shows teamwork? Leadership, initiative, and cohesion. Raven 5 has definitely exemplified the concept of “team” since the day we landed together. Raven 5 has not only become a team, it has become a family. It is clear that one element stands out for Raven 5: spirit. Along with teamwork, we have made the wellbeing of each member a high priority. We lift one another’s spirits no matter the mood or the day. We have implemented stress relief techniques, including yoga, and have utilized effective interpersonal communication. As the Health and Wellness Liaison, I have one-on-one conversations with each team member to discuss personal goals for the round, life after AmeriCorps plans, and current concerns. The team has agreed to make healthy eating fun by matching the dinner theme with the weekday, such as “Meatless Mondays.” The team has found common ground through these dinners, as well as through team-building activities. Team-building activities thus far have included “speed dating,” back-to-back drawings, and trust falls. As we have maintained physical training three days a week, some members have gone above and beyond with extra training sessions. I can honestly say that we have done great things for health and wellness during Round 1. GET TO THE POINT / APRIL 18, 2013


SHOUT OUTS Shout out to Paninico Café for making the best cheap burgers in the Rockaways!

We miss you, Glenn!

Moose 1 Buffalo 1 This Week Buffalo 2 had an extremely successful Day of Service set up by Sierra Taylor! And congratulations to those who are on Composite and Fire!

Moose 3 would like to give a shout out to the best USTL, Emily, for coming to visit our team in New York. We loved having you stay and work with us!

Moose 5 Moose 3

Buffalo 2 “A team is a group of people who I don’t mind when they steal my food.” -Eddy

Buffalo 3 “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Buffalo 4 Dragon 1 is having a great time at Montclair State University, hanging out with FEMA Corps members and watching Game of Thrones. We miss everybody and hope everyone has a great spring break!

Dragon 1 8


If a Moose is Playing Hooky You won’t know where to look. She will be lying in the sun. When you look in the sun, Antonio will move her to the wheel well. When you look on the wheel well, She’ll be riding in Pedro’s belt. If a Moose is playing hooky She’ll end up in the dog food.

Moose Force has amassed quite the collection of stuffed animals, which have since made their home in the dashboard of the Moose 4 van, Aluminum Falcon. They are based on either Star Wars characters or the locations in which they were acquired. We currently have Moosebacca, Moose Moose Binks, Hawkmoose, the Twins, Boba Fat Stickles (hedgehog), and Adriana’s sock puppet, Love Monkey. Most recently discovered is Zombie Moose, a discarded, torn and filthy moose that Tyrell found in the dirt during our rain garden work at the Silver Creek AMD site.

Moose 4 You are not free until you poop in the woods. Go forth, my children. Also, shout out to Ben and Ryan!

Phoenix 1

ETR1 just hopes that everyone is ready for a healthy and sane transition week! Or maybe that’s just the TL talking...

Raven 1 Raven 2 says “hi” to Moose 2 from an elevation of 1300 feet in the Hudson River Valley! See you soon in Martha’s Vineyard! Thanks to Jen for coming to visit! We enjoyed it! You looked good on that roof!

Raven 2 Can’t wait to see all of the Corps Members’ beautiful faces!

Raven 3 It’s a wrap up in here!

Raven 5


Buffalo 4 members Kaitlyn Liafsha (right) and David Wright (center), joined by Buffalo 1 member Justin Leiby, split fire wood at Bellvue State Park in Wilmington, De.

→ Moose 2 member Jaemia Pratt paints at Valley Youth House in Orefield, Pa. → Eddy Lee of Buffalo 3 retrieves a discarded tire for a Blue Water Baltimore cleanup → Stephen Silber of Moose 4 uses a hand saw to cut through a fallen tree while working with Appalachian Coal Country Team → Justin Gandy of Raven 5 does roof repair work in Meadville, Pa. ↓

Peter Conley replaces damaged insulation under a trailer home while working on a disaster recovery project with the Dragon 1 composite team in New Jersey



Where in the Atlantic Region Are They?

Round 1, Week 6

For Round 1, Class XIX teams completed 21 projects in seven states and the District of Columbia. An additional composite team deployed to complete a disaster recovery project in New Jersey. Four teams aided recovery from Hurricane Sandy in New York, while four more teams did longterm disaster recovery work elsewhere in the region. Additionally, three teams completed projects focused on environmental stewardship, two teams did urban and rural PENNSYLVANIA development work, and one team did infrastructure improvement.











Hackensack, N.J. Volunteer Center of Bergen County Disaster Recovery

RAVEN 1 New York, N.Y. New York Cares Disaster Recovery




New York, N.Y. World Care Centers Disaster Recovery

Newburgh, N.Y. Habitat for Humanity Urban & Rural Development





New Rochelle, N.Y. Habitat for Humanity Disaster Recovery

Winterthur, De. Winterthur Museum Environmental Stewardship

Schuylkill Haven, Pa. Appalachian Coal Country Team Environmental Stewardship

Lewes, De. Delaware State Parks Environmental Stewardship





Schoharie, N.Y. Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery Disaster Recovery

Allima Institute & FIRST Chesapeake Baltimore, Md. Urban & Rural Development

Camden, N.J. Camden Garden Club Urban & Rural Development

Brooklyn, N.Y. St. Bernard Project Disaster Recovery





Baltimore, Md. Rebuilding Together Infrastructure Improvement

Orefield, Pa. Valley Youth House Disaster Recovery

Suffolk, Va. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Disaster Response/Env. Stewardship

Meadville, Pa. Allegheny College Lake Effects Infrastructure Improvement

Get to the Point, Volume XIX, Issue 7  

AmeriCorps NCCC Atlantic Region Newsletter. In this Issue: Feature on "Elite Team Raven One," which spent five weeks aiding victims of Hurri...