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AmeriCorps Week 2018: Hope & Kevin

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During AmeriCorps Week 2018 (March 11th - 17th), we will feature the AmeriCorps members who get things done at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City.

Meet Hope. 

What is your day-to-day like? What skills are you developing? 

Hope sits wearing her AmeriCorps shirt and IRC lanyard
Dibabe Hope Newman, Career Readiness AmeriCorps VISTA, works with the IRC in Salt Lake City's economic empowerment team. Photo: Hope Newman/IRC

Every day is different for me. I review my clients' progress and make plans to follow up as needed. More often than not, I find myself researching vocational training opportunities and companies hiring with promotion opportunities. I follow up with clients to set up online training courses. I feel like I am always learning. I am getting better on my research skills, and I feel more comfortable contacting companies than I did before.

What impact have you made as an AmeriCorps member? 

As an AmeriCorps, I was there when I was most needed. A client was trying to apply for a job as a Peace Officer's Standard & Training position. He needed specific documents but wasn't sure where to obtain them to complete his application. He reached out, and I was able to help him find the correct documents and submit them on time. A week later, he called to thank me and to tell me he was hired to the position he wanted. It made my day!

I think the people we serve [at the IRC in Salt Lake City] are capable of doing anything they want to do, but sometimes they just need a little push.

Why does AmeriCorps matter? 

Being an AmeriCorps member has changed my perspective on life itself. It makes me happy thinking that this program is changing so many people’s lives. Being an AmeriCorps member not only changes the lives of the people we serve but also our lives as AmeriCorps members. It has helped me realize what serving really means and how we can all do that no matter what position we’re in. I hope to continue to do humanitarian work going forward.

Meet Kevin.

What is your day-to-day like? What skills are you developing?

Kevin Favreau stands while discussing development activities.
Kevin Favreau, development & strategic initiatives AmeriCorps VISTA, works with the IRC in Salt Lake City's development team. Photo: Jesse Sheets/IRC

My day-to-day work consists of community correspondence with groups and individuals interested in learning how to become involved with the IRC in Salt Lake City. I answer common questions individuals might have about volunteer opportunities and set up speaking events for the IRC's Speakers Bureau. I am cultivating many skills including communication, volunteer recruitment, volunteer retention, event coordinating, community engagement, corporate engagement, and fundraising.

What impact have you made as an AmeriCorps member?

Since starting my position as an AmeriCorps volunteer, I have trained more than 250 community volunteers in ongoing and one-day volunteer opportunities. I have expanded the IRC's Speakers Bureau, a community engagement program providing educational materials about refugee resettlement, by coordinating over 70 speaking, tabling and paneling events; I have personally presented to over 400 people. And I have supported IRC development team efforts to raise over $90,000 in monetary and in-kind donations.

Why does AmeriCorps matter?

AmeriCorps matters because it provides nonprofits around the country opportunities leverage funding to employ young humanitarians to build program capacity. AmeriCorps also allows individuals to gain work experience they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. My time as an AmeriCorps has taught me a lot about development work. It has taught me to forgo personal hesitations to strive forward towards a larger goal. To swallow my pride and ask for help. To birth a goat. To plan an event. How to work as a team. How to lead and how to follow. I started my position without knowing how to draft an email correctly and now I send so many a day I lose count, they aren’t particularly good but hey, they are certainly better.

AmeriCorps at the IRC in Salt Lake City

AmeriCorps is a national service organization where individuals commit their time to address critical community needs in exchange for a living allowance and education award. In 2017, the IRC in Salt Lake City's ten full-time service members raised over $146,000 in in-kind donations, coordinated over 1,800 volunteers and created 45 new systems allowing us to better serve newly resettled refugees. Our AmeriCorps members at the IRC in Salt Lake City work every day to ease refugees’ transition to life in Utah. AmeriCorps members #GetThingsDone! 

The IRC in Salt Lake City places ten full-time service members through the United Way of Utah County, Salt Lake County and Refugee Services Office. If you are interested in learning more about AmeriCorps at the IRC, please email us at SaltLakeCity [at] Rescue.org (subject: AmeriCorps)  and include "AmeriCorps" in the subject line.