AmeriCorps NCCC Southern Region Newsletter
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.
ATTACK THE BLOCK
GRADUATION CLASS 20A
OUR SPECIAL GUEST
COAST 1 FEATURE TEAM PHOTO COLLAGE
GIRL ON FIRE
EARTH DAY WITH D3
SOUTHERN REGION COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICE: Kevin Jones, Community Relations Associate (CRA) Phone: 601.630.4048 ● Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Matthew Payne, Community Relations Support Team Leader (CRSTL) Phone: 769.203.1923 ● Email: email@example.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. ÂŠ 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
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!”
ATTACK THE D
elta 5 is very excited to be
spending their first round Orleans
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
â€œ...safer, smarter and healthier.â€? 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.”
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-
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
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
EXPLORING THE CITY
US BOTANIC GARDEN
Photo Essay by Thomas Dutcher, FEMA Corps Class 20B
ginning of the journey so it is hard to say just how true the presidentsâ€™ 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
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, â€œThis generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destinyâ€?.
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
OUR GIRL ON FIRE. A reflection by Natalie Siedhof
Nat a l ie S ie dho f | T upe l o , MS 12
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
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
we needed to take particular caution not to burn or
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
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.
y teamâ€™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 Oâ€™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
Q & A WITH AN NCCC ALUM GARY HANSEN
RISK VS. REGRET SO GARY,
WHERE ARE YOU NOW
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-
WAS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM
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 â€“ both as a CM and TL â€“ 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,
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
little choices they make. So I'd have to say getting to know myself on a deeper level was one of my biggest takeaways.
WITH US ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES.
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
an hour before we found the first (and only) standing gravestone hidden behind vines and dense
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:
Activity #1: Grow New Contacts: Free Asso-
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
Strengthen Existing Contacts:
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.
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:
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