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ISSUE ONE

AmeriCorps NCCC Southern Region Newsletter

OUR

GIRL ON FIRE DISASTER HITS HOME | CELEBRATING EARTH DAY |

COAST ONE FEATURE | ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT 1


IN THIS ISSUE:

TRADITIONAL 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 NATIONALSERVICE.GOV/NCCC or call 1.800.942.2677

FEMA CORPS MEMBER STATEMENT: The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have launched an innovative partnership to establish a FEMA-devoted unit of 1,600 service corps members within AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) solely devoted to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

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DISASTER ALERT

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MAYORS DAY

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ATTACK THE BLOCK

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GRADUATION CLASS 20A

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OUR SPECIAL GUEST

8-10 11

COAST 1 FEATURE TEAM PHOTO COLLAGE

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GIRL ON FIRE

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EARTH DAY WITH D3

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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

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MEMBER DEVELOPMENT

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STAY CONNECTED

SOUTHERN REGION COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICE: Kevin Jones, Community Relations Associate (CRA) Phone: 601.630.4048 ● Email: kjones@cns.gov Matthew Payne, Community Relations Support Team Leader (CRSTL) Phone: 769.203.1923 ● Email: deltacrsunit@gmail.com Southern Heat is a monthly newsletter edited and designed by Matthew Payne, CRSTL

FRONT & BACK PHOTO: Support Team Leader Natalie Siedhof during fire training at the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tupelo, MS.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST NCCC & FEMA CORPS DEPLOYMENT REPORT. 2


DISASTER HITS HOME Reports are still coming in from Midwestern and Southern states that were ravaged by a deadly string of tornados on Monday and Tuesday. One of our teams was stationed in Tupelo, MS, a town hit especially hard by a tornado but we are happy to report they are safe. As an organization dedicated to disaster recovery, we are currently working to deploy our teams into communities that are in dire need of assistance. In times of great adversity, our members persevere and work tirelessly to get things done for Americans who need it most.

Constance Lambert embraces her dog after finding it alive when returning to her destroyed home in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Monday. Š copyright 2014 Associated Press. 3


NEW ORLEANS MAYOR, MITCH LANDRIEU, HONORS JOSEPH MASSENNBURG. Mayor Landrieu along with the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized three national service participants for the time, energy and generous contributions they have provided to the New Orleans community as dedicated members of the

local

AmeriCorps

and

Senior

Corps

programs.

MAYOR LANDRIEU PRESENTS JOSEPH MASSENBURG MEMORIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

Honorees were presented with the first-annual Joseph Massenburg Memorial Award for Excellence in National Service. The award is for participants of AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), AmeriCorps VISTA, and Senior Corps who demonstrate an

exemplary commitment to service in the New Orleans community.

L E F T TO RI GH T : D 5 TL F RA N K K AN E R, M AY O R L A N D RI E U, RE G I O N D I RE C T O R D O N C L A RK

MAYOR FLAGGS: “NATIONAL SERVICE WORKS FOR VICKSBURG!” Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. joined Deputy Director of Programming Richard Smith and AmeriCorps Team Leaders and Corps members on the steps of Vicksburg City Hall to offer a proclamation of gratitude for the role that AmeriCorps NCCC plays in the community of Vicksburg. “This is our home away from home and we are proud to serve in whatever way we can” said Emily Baker, Team Leader. Mayor Flaggs was proud to claim in front of local television and his guests that “National

MAYOR FLAGGS, AMERICOPRS NCCC STAFF, CORPS M E B M E R S A ND T E AM L E AD E R S O N S T E P S O F C I T Y H A L L

Service works for Vicksburg!”

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ATTACK THE D

elta 5 is very excited to be

spending their first round Orleans

with Area

New of

Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH). Aside from many of us learning new construction skills such as sawing, roofing and cement

Delta 5 has been tasked with leading the volunteer

groups around different parts of the neighborhood. We all get an assigned area and then we break up to pick up the tools we will need for that particular site and the number of volunteers in our group. After each member of Delta 5 disperses, we clean up our assigned areas with our groups for several hours. Each group is normally between 10-20 people which varies based on how many volunteers Habitat has for that day.

pouring, we all have had the experience of partici-

Previously, we helped lead 81 volunteers. Between

pating in a neighborhood revitalization program

all the volunteers and us, we filled 167 contractor

called “Attack the Block”. Although Habitat’s main mission is to build safe, decent, and affordable housing another focus is to expand this mission to surrounding neighborhoods in the New Orleans Area by performing neighborhood cleanup projects. Based on the past successes of this program, NOAHH is in its third year of hosting this program. Each Friday in the month of March, the volunteers with Habitat for Humanity only go to their construction worksites for the morning. At lunch time, the volunteers gather at an assigned place in a particular neighborhood that serves as the base. This is normally a park or an empty lot that Habitat now owns. After a local pizza place delivers pizza for all the volunteers, we begin our task of beautifying the neighborhood. These tasks could be anything from collecting trash, removing overgrown plants from side-

walks or clearing storm drains.

BEFORE

AFTER

bags with either trash or overgrowth from the sidewalks. We also removed 25 tires, cleared 6 lots,

cleaned 11 storm drains and filled up 2 complete dumpsters. As each Friday progresses, the numbers also increase which really shows what a difference this project makes. Attack the Block is a great example of what spring cleaning can do to a single neighborhood. It is a great way to empower communities to keep their neighborhoods looking clean and well-kept. Delta 5 only has one more Friday of this work but hopefully the work can be brought to other areas while we are serving. 5


AHA!

Introducing...

AmeriCorps Health Advocates

A health-conscious community, now available in your news feed. Follow us at: www.facebook.com/americorpshealthadvocates Interested in becoming an Editor? E-mail deltacrsunit@gmail.com.

“...safer, smarter and healthier.� 6


1ST NCCC NATIONAL DIRECTOR VISITS THE SOUTHERN REGION CAMPUS The first and founding National Director of AmeriCorps NCCC visited the Southern Region Campus. Twenty years ago, General Don Scott was handed legislation and a mission to create a program that would strengthen communities and develop future leaders. Here’s a piece of what he had to share with current members:

Do your thing. Use your talents, use your ambition to do something that’s going to

help other people within your community. But more importantly, and this is my view, do something that’s going to help America live the dreams of our founders, way back when, before integration was possible, before suffrage was possible, who believed in the notion that America was a place where you were important because you are. Where the freedoms of speech, the freedoms of education, where all of our freedoms were important. We must do something as individuals to make sure that these founding ideas become real life everyday kinds of things.”

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COAST ONE

IN THE CAPITOL CITY

By Erin Sliney When I first applied to be in FEMA Corps I had

branches of FEMA and what their individual roles

no idea what adventures I was about to embark

are, as well as how they cooperate as a whole

on. So far it has led me to our nation’s capital,

entity in a time of disaster.

Washington D.C. I am currently stationed in FE-

So far we have been told that Coast 1 is to be-

MA Headquarters, steps away from the National

come experts in FEMA’s disaster relief communi-

Mall. It is amazing to be surrounded by so much

cation system. Once we have learned all the ins

of our nation’s history. We have utilized these

and outs of the system, we will then travel across

great opportunities and visited countless monu-

the country to train FEMA employees how to use

ments and the Smithsonian museums. It reminds

the communication system. My team and I are

us every day of the great influence we have and

extremely excited for the opportunity to travel

makes me proud to be serving in our capital.

and interact with FEMA teams from all over the

Working in FEMA Headquarters has been an in-

country.

formative experience thus far. Our first day, we

I cannot wait for our adventures to continue and

were fortunate enough to take a tour of the vari-

look forward to many new experiences!

ous departments. We were exposed to the many

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INDEPENDENT SERVICE PROJECTS

B E F O R E | K A BO O M B UI L D

A F T E R | K A B O O M B UI L D

C H E R R Y BL O S S O M F E S T I V A L

“Our team went to a local Dog Park to help spread dirt and compost for plants and trees. It wasn’t until that day that I understood what it meant for a community to get together and work toward a single goal.“

D O G P A RK I S P

-Lucas Millman

EXPLORING THE CITY

US BOTANIC GARDEN

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Photo Essay by Thomas Dutcher, FEMA Corps Class 20B

ginning of the journey so it is hard to say just how true the presidents’ words remain but it will be of the greatest importance to keep this quote in mind when the times get tough. Look back on this quote when the hours are piling up and the work is only getting longer and harder or when you are traveling across the nation not knowing exactly where you are going or when you lose a grip on how your actions are benefiting the organization you are

Th

working with and the American people as a whole. In the end it will be clear that the presie photo above is one that I took

while wandering through the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C and my experience with this image is when the gravity of this term of service truly sunk in for me. The quote by the former president is in regards to the Civilian Conservation Corps that was created as part of his New Deal Program. This Corps was responsible for the planting of nearly 3 billion trees, the construction of over

dents words about the CCC still apply to the modernized version of the program that we now belong to; that all the physical good we have done and all of the tangible things we have gained during our service will pale in comparison to how we have made leaps and bounds in the quest to be the person we demand of ourselves. For as President Roosevelt also said, “This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny�.

800 parks across the nation, the building of roads in remote areas, and countless other programs. As it is the 20th anniversary it is just as if not more important than ever to remember the foundations of the AmeriCorps NCCC program, whether it is traditional or FEMA Corps. I found myself staring at this quote for a great deal of time and reflecting on the commitment that this program entails and what not only this program is asking, but also what I must ask of myself to fulfill not only the needs and goals of the program but also the goals I have set for myself to become the person that I envision and strive to be. This is only the be10


COAST 2 | MEETING SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN | DC

RIVER 6 | CLEARNING DEBRIS | FL

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OUR GIRL ON FIRE. A reflection by Natalie Siedhof

Nat a l ie S ie dho f | T upe l o , MS 12


I

applied

for

AmeriCorps

NCCC

S – 212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws. The passion and

shortly after graduating from college

excitement of our instructors during our training

in the spring of 2013. My initial in-

period made the whole group even more antsy to

terest with this organization was

get out in the field and do some hands on practice.

sparked during a phase in my life in which I complet-

Our wish was granted when the instructors decided

ed four years of college, but had no clear direction

to take our teams out for two days of prescribed

of where I wanted to start my new “adult” life. The

burns. For me, it was like the night before Christ-

NCCC program was appealing because it gave me a

mas trying to fall asleep in our cabin. I had never

chance to make a meaningful impact on a world that

done anything like this in my life and even though

had already given me so much. I loved the idea of

we

traveling, experiencing a culture that was outside of

throughout the training classes, I wasn’t sure what

my own, and facilitating positive change among

to expect once I was finally out there face to face

communities in need. Not only did this program

with the fire. Needless to say, it was an experience I

provide me with a chance to help others, but it was

will never forget. We were able to burn within an

also an opportunity for me to gain experience in a

area that had many building structures registered in

variety of fields that could help with future employ-

the National Register of Historic Places, meaning

ment opportunities.

we needed to take particular caution not to burn or

had

received

the

necessary

certifications

Fast forward a few months and here I am,

disrupt any of these structures in the process. Dur-

the Operations Support Team Leader for Class 20

ing this time we were given a chance to become

NCCC. In the short time that I have been involved in

comfortable using a variety of tools used to con-

this program I’ve learned how to operate a chain-

struct and contain fire line, as well as those used to

saw, received construction tool training through

start the fire… the drip torch. There is nothing like

Habitat for Humanity, and had an amazing oppor-

holding a tank full of fuel in your hand with a burn-

tunity to join Delta 4 and Delta 7 during their fire

ing wick on the end of it!

team training. One of the many benefits to being

In all, my first four months in the Ameri-

the Operations STL is that I was given the chance to

Corps NCCC program has created some of the

be an alternate team leader for the fire teams, al-

most adventurous and meaningful memories I’ve

lowing me to join them at fire camp, receive all of

had up to this point in my life. I have worked along-

the necessary certifications, and spend two days

side a few amazing sponsors, made lasting friend-

doing prescribed burns. I have to admit I was pretty

ships, and learned skills that will better my life in

apprehensive when I was first approached about

ways that I have not yet even realized. This program

taking on this responsibility. I thought to myself,

has been everything I expected it to be and more,

“uhhh… isn’t that kind of dangerous?”. After much

and I look forward to all of the amazing adventures

deliberation, I decided to go for it; a decision I am

that are still in store!

very happy I made. Working alongside the Natchez Trace/Tishomingo State Park crew was an experience of a lifetime. The first few days spent at camp were jammed pack full of instruction focusing on student workbooks for S – 130 Firefighter Training, S – 190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior, and 13


Earth

DAY

WITH DELTA 3 By St ar la Reno

P ho t o Cre d it : Fr ie nds o f Cu m berl an d Fa lls 14


Not only was our service important to the parks and creatures that live in it but to the towns nearby. Many of these towns survive because of the people that visit these parks. Without their business, these communities would suffer. Tourists bring more than just finance to the communities and the park. They also create local awareness

and interest in the communities.

M

y team’s first project has been serving at Cumberland Falls and Carter Caves State Resort Park doing trail maintenance. We

have retreaded trails, built bridges, repaired fences, installed water bars, cleared debris, treated hemlocks and cave restoration. The trails we maintain help the tourists to enjoy the park safely. My team has also helped treat over 2,500 hemlock trees from the Wooly Adelgid disease. The impact we have had on these trees is tremendous. We assisted in giving them a solution that will help fight the disease for at least five years.

This experience so far has been overwhelmingly immense. I am from Arizona, and I come from the Tohono O’odham Reservation. I am so used to being surrounded by mountains, rocks and dirt that the forest environment for me is such a different experience. Often times the work has been physically exhausting, but I knew that the hard

work the team has put in would be beneficial for the park and the Earth. I believe the Earth is a provider of life that is given to us, and now it is time for us to reciprocate. I am looking forward to the rest of the year of service!

Without Hemlock trees, many different species of insects would become extinct, and our forest CL IC K: Fo llo w t he ir jo urn e y .

would be devastated by the loss of so many trees that keeps these parks thriving.

Cu m be rl an d Fa lls , KY

D3 # glo b als e lf ie

S pri ng F lo we rs

Ins ide C art e r Ca ve s

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Q & A WITH AN NCCC ALUM GARY HANSEN

RISK VS. REGRET SO GARY,

WHERE ARE YOU NOW

&

HOW ARE

YOU FEELING ABOUT IT?

I've made YouTube videos (garydoesthings), comics, and illustrations (garydoesthings.com) in my own time in the past, but now I'd like to get orga-

After completing my TL year in 2011, I'd been liv-

nized and take the risk of make a living on it. I'm

ing in New Orleans in Marigny. I was working as a

not ignorant of how crazy and difficult it will be,

graphic designer/web developer/illustrator/video

but it's worth it to try. I'm not a fan of regret.

editor and basically anything no one else knew how to do fell to me. After my job fell through recently, I moved to Salt Lake City for some extra schooling. Right now I'm picking up freelance jobs here in SLC to get myself by until I can land something more solid. I'm also finishing up a website dedicated to listing and detailing live shows in New Orleans with a friend.

WHAT WORK ARE YOU DOING NOW OR HOPE TO BE DOING SOON?

The real goal I am actively pursuing is establishing myself as a content creator on the web. The pursuit of becoming a creator stems from passion. During my CM year, my TL continually inspired in me a taste for freedom and a hunger to jump into life every chance you get and pursue the things you love. He loved taking risks and adored his fail-

WHAT YOUR

WAS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM

NCCC

EXPERIENCE AND HOW DOES IT

APPLY TO YOUR LIFE NOW?

AmeriCorps tests and demands so much of you every single minute of every single day – both as a CM and TL – in a way unique to any other opportunity nowadays. Everyday you see who on your team has the patience to deal with an aggravating

ures as much as his success. You meet a lot of inspiring people in terms of service, and you learn that you should always give your lofty goals a shot.

person or situation, who can push through the physical pain, and who has the fortitude to remain faithful to their promises and commitments. Most of all, I would see those things in myself everyday. If you pay attention, it teaches you your limits,

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where your values really are, and even what you

tangles of branches. Soon after, my TL saw a pat-

really think of yourself. I'm naturally an introspec-

tern in the puddles in the area and recognized

tive person, but in NCCC I paid close attention to

them to be the depressions of where dead had

how I handled situations each day and reflected

been buried. Some careful digging near these de-

on what my decisions informed me about myself.

pressions revealed markers under at least an inch

In addition, the program also seems to have this

of soil. The rest of the project was spent uncover-

uncanny ability to take everything you've been

ing and taking impressions of as many markers as

running away from or trying to ignore in your life,

we could. We only made a dent in the overall ar-

and plant it right in front of you and say, “You

ea, but at the end we got the attention of the

have to deal with this now.” Nobody leaves the

mayor and I was told other teams would return to

program unchanged and it's all dependent on the

the site.

little choices they make. So I'd have to say getting to know myself on a deeper level was one of my biggest takeaways.

SHARE NCCC

WITH US ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES.

ANYTHING ELSE

YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

NCCC is totally weird, even in the AmeriCorps world. No one outside NCCC will really understand what you have done or gone through in this program. It's something totally unique in this

There are many great memories of friends and

country, and in some ways the world. The pro-

challenging builds, but there is one memory that

gram brings together groups of young adults not

sticks out. I don't know if I'd call it my sweetest,

for military purpose, but for the active betterment

but it stays with me.

of American (and sometimes foreign) communities. Its purpose is an innately positive one. It is,

The first half of my third round during my CM year was in Greenville, MS working to clear the Native American ceremonial mounds in the north part of the city. One day we were driving back and noticed an odd patch of trees and overgrowth in the middle of farm field. When we asked about it, our supervisor told us that it was a graveyard that has

like many government agencies, sometimes troubled by red tape or odd policy, but take pride in what you are doing and what you are a part of. You are part of a very unique selection of people in America. Enjoy the heck out of it. Squeeze every bit of fun out of every day.

gone neglected for many many years. Some team-

Also, keep a journal. It's astounding how much

mates and I decided to check it out and maybe

you can forget.

make an ISP of it.

Lastly, you know that ceiling tile in the supply

When we got there, it was worse than it had

room with cookie monster on pride rock? Yeah.

sounded. You might have never known there had

That's my team and I painted that. No big deal.

been anything there. We had to search for almost

DELTA 2!

an hour before we found the first (and only) standing gravestone hidden behind vines and dense

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N

etworking involves cultivating and leveraging sincere relationships, which most of us have been do-

ing all of our lives. Networking is strengthening relationships that you already have established AND moving beyond your immediate contacts and tapping into other people’s networks in a non-invasive and comfortable way.

Moving beyond your immediate contacts may feel a bit awkward if you’re uncomfortable approaching new people and striking up conversation. A lot of times this discomfort comes from not being sure if we’ll say the right thing or know what to say. Some of us need to shed that self-consciousness and just approach people. This team activity will help you do so:

1

2

Activity #1: Grow New Contacts: Free Asso-

Activity #2:

ciation: Stand in a circle. One person starts

To help strengthen your existing networks, I

off by saying any word. The person to his or

challenge you all to email, call or text three

her left says the absolute first thing that

people this week that you haven’t spoken to

comes to mind in response to the previous

in a while and let them know you’re thinking

word. This continues a couple times around

about them. Here are some examples: “I

the circle. There should be no pause to edit

read the book, _____, and thought of you.

thoughts. This is not a psychoanalysis exer-

You might like it.” “Hi _____, we haven’t

cise, but one to get people pulling down

connected in a while and I was wondering

barriers to speaking up. Here’s an example

how things are going. I heard through the

of

grapevine that….”

an

association

“boss-employee-job-

Strengthen Existing Contacts:

money-mansion-baller….”

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Samantha is looking for a new car and would like feedback from her Facebook friends.

Trusted friends are highly valued, but may not be experts in a given category or topic.

Categorization facilitates relevant conversations that are highly fluid in nature within Facebook.

OPPORTUNITIES

Xanterra and Cool Works - interesting job search engines WWOOF - world wide opportunities on organic farms SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE- test dates and deadlines A Broader View, Peace Corps - volunteer in foreign countries CollegeBoard and Princeton Review - university and college research Southwest Conservation Corps - environmental stewardship in CO, AZ and NM

Teach for America, City Year, Intermountain AmeriCorps - education based volunteer work. 19


The latest from the Southern Region:

FACEBOOK.COM/AMERICORPSNCCCSOUTHERN

Are you Interested in submitting an article or photos for the next issue of Southern Heat? Email ideas, comments or concerns to Matt Payne at: deltacrsunit@gmail.com.

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Southern Heat - Issue One - 2014  

Southern Heat is a monthly newsletter created by the AmeriCorps NCCC Southern Region Campus. Read page 2 for more information about our pro...