My AmeriCorps experience showed me that helping others -- and being myself -- is a path to growth, fulfillment, and greater career opportunities.
by Stephen Anfield
On Friday, August 17, I was invited to the White House along with more than 150 AmeriCorps Alumni leaders from 25 states. We represented AmeriCorps Alums during a day-long briefing highlighting national service as a pathway to opportunity and career advancement.
If you're wondering what AmeriCorps is and why I participated, the reason is really quite simple: I love to help others in need. During my year of service with an AmeriCorps-funded program called City Year, I led a team of nine corps members in full-time service in the DC community.
Why did ADHD prove to be a benefit?
In leading my team called DECYDE (Dramatic Empowerment: City Year Drug Education), we taught DC youth about character education and substance abuse by teaching an intensive curriculum developed by the NIH (National Institues of Health) while also performing on stage! As you can imagine, there was never a dull moment in the classroom or while in front of an audience, and this creative outlet was certainly a blessing for an adult like me coping with ADHD.
Through my AmeriCorps experience, I came in not knowing what to expect and left with a view that I was part of something bigger. As I look back, I know I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without AmeriCorps. As an AmeriCorps Alums member, I continue to serve in my community and my national service experience has benefited my career goals. In one of my previous blog posts, I shared how the nonprofit environment can be the perfect career for someone with ADHD, and I stand by my statement. I love everything about AmeriCorps because I was able to succeed just by being myself, and that has made all the difference.
Since 1994, more than 775,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. More than 80,000 will serve this year.
Do you know someone who has participated in an AmeriCorps program? If you've never heard of AmeriCorps or the great opportunities it provides for young people, be sure to visit www.americorps.gov.