Eleven highlights of service

Energy Corps

Read about Amy’s highlights of her Energy Corps term:

After seven long years working for a corporation, Energy Corps has been a welcome change of pace. These past 11 months have been amazing and educational. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people that I’ve taught about conserving energy in their home. Iowans are smart, funny, kind and humble. In the short hour that we spend together, I’ve made connections that I will always remember with class participants. It is inspiring to empower people to make changes in their lives that will help then save money and reduce their energy use.  So for my last blog, let’s take a look back at 11 highlights (one for each month) from my term of service.

June – Training in Butte Montana was an excellent way to begin this journey. Meeting the Energy Corps staff and other service members was great. We learned a lot in those first few days that would help us navigate the remainder of our term of service.

July – I taught my first energy conservation class to HACAP clients and survived! I remember being surprised by how much people are willing to open up and share about their energy concerns or ways that they save. Things only got better as I got into a groove of teaching and learned what worked and didn’t work.

August – Met Conservation Corps member, Theo, who works with RREAL helping to bring solar furnaces to Iowa. This meeting led to HACAP installing the first solar furnace in Iowa on a HACAP Transitional Home in Cedar Rapids. And, it created an alliance between RREAL and HACAP that has brought Theo’s successor, Jackie, to work at HACAP and share a cubicle with me.

9/11 Day of Service participants
9/11 Day of Service participants

September – 9/11 Day of Service brought together a group of AmeriCorps members to serve with Feed Iowa First weeding and picking tomatoes and strawberries. Feed Iowa First is leading the way in making sure local produce is available to those who are hungry in Eastern Iowa.

October – A client approached me after one of my classes to thank me for the information but to express how it was too little, too late. She was going to have her utilities turned off soon which would lead to her and her daughter being evicted from their rental property and therefore homeless. I was able to help find funding for her to pay off her utility bill so she could remain in her home. I was grateful she approached me after class and that HACAP was able to help her during a rough patch in her life.

November – I spent the first week of November assisting with LIHEAP applications at the HACAP Urban office.  There were times when the waiting room was standing room only and there were 40 people waiting in line! Talk about a busy season for HACAP.

December – I assisted with a holiday program that matched families to donors that would provide food and gifts during the holidays. This was a heartwarming way to spend December and a nice bit of a break from teaching.

MLK Day Service Activity
MLK Day: checking the hot water tank temperature

January – I teamed up with Green Iowa AmeriCorps for a MLK Day of Service project where we weatherized a dozen homes throughout Cedar Rapids.  We installed CFL bulbs, installed window insulator kits, rope caulked leaks throughout the home and installed efficient aerators and showerheads. People were excited for the energy saving tools, especially during this very cold Iowa winter.

February – Taught preschool children about Energy!  And boy do they have a lot of it! What a treat to talk to them about where energy comes from and how we can conserve it.

March – Once again, teamed up with Green Iowa AmeriCorps to weatherize a domestic violence shelter in Iowa City. The facility housed 15 families and had a lot of common spaces. The families and staff that we met were grateful that we were helping to reduce drafts from the windows as nights at the shelter were very cold with the wind wailing. We also installed low flow aerators and showerheads and CFL bulbs.

Amy and Jackie with their solar oven at EcoFest
Amy and Jackie with their solar oven at EcoFest

April – Built a solar oven and displayed it at Ecofest, an Earth Day festival in Cedar Rapids, where we made vegan sugar cookies! This was a great event to end my term of service.

I’m grateful for all of the experiences and knowledge that I’m taking with me. I can’t thank HACAP or the Energy Corps program enough for this tremendous experience. Wishing all of my fellow Energy Corps members the best of luck in their future endeavors.

member_amy-luebbertAmy Luebbert has a B.A. in Geography with a minor in Anthropology. She volunteered in Des Moines, IA as a community organizer with Oxfam America from 2011-2013. This experience offered her the opportunity to lobby on behalf of small scale farmers around the world, engage and inform the public on issues of hunger and poverty, organize events, manage volunteers and develop a social media presence for their local group. Amy has seven years of experience in the corporate world and is excited to have the opportunity to pursue a career more in line with her passions. Amy served with HACAP  promoting energy efficiency and conservation through public trainings. She assisted in energy-related certification presentations and educated residents about heating system maintenance and general energy conservation education.

Taking the Next Steps
A reflection of skills gained

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