Accessing Home deploys AmeriCorps members across Rhode Island to advocate for families experiencing housing instability. Since 2016, 18 AmeriCorps members have graduated from the program, earning professional certifications and over $75,000 in education awards!
I caught up with 3 former AmeriCorps members to see what they are up to and get their advice for new Accessing Home candidates. Here’s what Raquél has to say:
Accessing Home is currently recruiting AmeriCorps members for the 2019-2020 service year. Are you ready to serve? Apply today!
Is your organization interested in hosting an AmeriCorps member in the 2019-2020 program year? Applications are due June 7, 2019.
- Served: 2017-2018
- Site: Smith Hill Community Development Corporation, Providence, RI
- Current Job: Registered Nurse, Miriam Hospital & Community Outreach Supervisor, Smith Hill Community Development Corporation
Prior to joining AmeriCorps, what was your educational/professional background?
I went to nursing school at URI. I graduated in 2017 and then, between graduating and working as a nurse, I had this period where I needed to get my nursing license. I was getting frustrated because my professional career seemed very far away. During that time I needed something to do, which is why I looked into AmeriCorps. Then everything kind of fell into place. I finished my year of service, I passed my boards, and I’m currently a nurse.
What did you gain from your AmeriCorps experience?
I gained a lot. I think it goes without saying that you’re just going to become more leadership-focused when you’re in AmeriCorps. I’ve always thought of myself as an empathetic person but my year in AmeriCorps definitely proved that because I had to know how to talk to people in a way that’s therapeutic. A lot of the skills that I learned in nursing school were improved just by being an AmeriCorps member.
What is your favorite memory from your AmeriCorps year?
My favorite memory is when I was able to help one of our tenants get a job. We looked at her resume, fixed it, told her the different ways that she could apply, and where to apply. Then, a week later, she got a job. It was a huge stepping stone because she had been looking for so long.
What are you doing now, professionally? How did AmeriCorps get you where you are today?
I’m doing a lot, but my main professional job is being a registered nurse at Miriam hospital. Part-time I still work with the nonprofit where I served in AmeriCorps as the Community Outreach Supervisor. AmeriCorps helped me transition from being a Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) to a nurse in a lot of different ways. I learned to better communicate, how to advocate, and those are all skills you need to have as a nurse. So that was a huge advantage and it gave me something different to talk about in my job interviews, which was very helpful.
Transitioning to a staff position at Smith Hill CDC from AmeriCorps was solely based on my year of service. I loved working with the people that I did for AmeriCorps and it was an absolute yes when they asked me to stay on. Now I’m doing something professionally that both invigorates me in the healthcare world and excites me in the community service world.
How will you use your education award?
I used my education award to pay off loans and that took a good chunk away from what I would be paying out of pocket which is awesome.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Accessing Home AmeriCorps?
Keep an open mind with the expectations you have for yourself because when I first started in my role I had this idea that my service was going to have an immediate impact. But the reality is that it might take a while until you actually see the impact. I am just now hearing stories of people who finally got an apartment or a job a year after I worked with them. It really goes to show that you might not see success happen as soon as you’d like, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever occur. It just means that you need to hold the small moments dear to you because you’re doing your best.