What a Year of AmeriCorps Service Means

Energy Corps
Rachael applying window plastic with fellow Energy Corps members
Rachael applying window plastic with fellow Energy Corps members

Read about Rachael reflecting on her Energy Corps service:

A year of service in AmeriCorps sounds straight forward enough, but what exactly does it mean? One way to define a year of service is with technical details.  A year of service is putting in 1,700 hours over an 11 month period which equates to roughly 35.5 hours a week. It’s baking approximately 216 solar cookies at 3 different summer fairs. It means stuffing 4,625 envelopes, calling 1,000 home owners, and weatherizing 192 homes. It’s presenting to 610 adults and children of all ages and gaining a change in knowledge from 404 of those adults and children. That’s what a year of service means in technical terms, but that’s just number and numbers are great… but they aren’t everything.

Mayor's Day of Recognition event at Habitat for Humanity
Mayor’s Day of Recognition event at Habitat for Humanity

A year of service also means pursuing a passion of serving your community, others and for me the environment. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself into a new community and sometimes a new culture. It’s forming new relationships, professional and personal. A year of service is gaining new experiences and memories. It’s often taking a giant leap into the big, scary unknown. Sure, the unknown seems scary at first but after that first leap you come to find that there is a path laid out for you. That path may be a bit rocky along the way but it’s also filled with fun, adventurous, and amazing experiences and let’s be honest, when has playing it safe ever been paired with any of those adjectives?

9-11 Day of Remembrance event at the food bank
9-11 Day of Remembrance event at the food bank

To sum it all up a year of AmeriCorps service is a lot of numbers, meaningful numbers. Behind every number is a story, an experience and someone who holds a strong passion for what that number means to them. During your term of service there’s always the question of why, why move across the country to live in a town you’ve never heard of and make less than minimum wage. For me the answer to the question of why is also the answer of what a year of AmeriCorps service means. There will always be people that ask why and still don’t understand why you’ve committed yourself to a year of service. With that in mind let’s go back to numbers once more, because there are 800,000 (and constantly growing) AmeriCorps alumni that understand why.

Mayor's Day group shot
Mayor’s Day group shot








Rachael Bramblett studied at Appalachian State University and is well versed on topics of sustainable development, wind power, micro-hydro, photovoltaic, solar thermal, biofuels, and sustainable/green building design. Rachael provides renewable energy and energy efficiency education through public outreach. Additionally, she has installed light weatherization kits in several hundred homes across the state of Montana.

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