When your local Habitat for Humanity is between home builds, our hard-working team doesn’t sit idly by. In fact, some head to other communities facing disaster relief or other critical housing needs. Jodi Flickinger, Habitat’s Volunteer Coordinator and former AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) member, recently returned from a 10-year reunion service project with her team members in New Orleans. In 2007 her team helped rebuild the gulf coast after Katrina, and in January returned to the same area to build for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. Here is her story:
Ten years ago, I joined the AmeriCorps NCCC. AmeriCorps NCCC members travel the country strengthening communities and developing leadership skills while working with a diverse team. Members serve full-time for 10 months to address community needs and respond to disasters. We wear the recognizable large letter “A” patch on our clothing representing the AmeriCorps program we are a part of. As AmeriCorps members, we pledge:
- I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
- I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
- Faced with apathy, I will take action.
- Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
- Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
- I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
- I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
When I joined AmeriCorps, in 2007, Hurricane Katrina had just devastated the gulf coast. Every team was deployed to the south with the purpose of helping the gulf coast communities rebuild. Most of the teams that year were centralized around New Orleans. I worked with Habitat for Humanity in Biloxi Mississippi helping to rebuilding homes and schools. It was an experience I will never forget, and it has changed my life for the better.
This year, we decided to hold a 10-year reunion in New Orleans and volunteer for the local Habitat for Humanity. We had the opportunity to help build a home in the lower 9th ward. When we arrived, the house was only a foundation. With our AmeriCorps attitude of “Get Things Done!” we worked hard and by the time we left we had framed the whole house! As with all Habitat for Humanity homes, we were able to work alongside the future homeowner and get to know them. We had a great time and look forward to the next reunion.
AmeriCorps NCCC teams, drawn from the model of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s, strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based community service with non-profits. They are an amazing resource for organizations looking for committed volunteers to support local service projects. At our local Habitat for Humanity, AmeriCorps teams have conducted housing studies, completed repair projects, and helped build new homes. In exchange for their term of service, we offer professional skills and experience that the participants will carry with them for a lifetime. We look forward to the possibility of hosting more of these dynamic young people to increase our impact in the Summit and Wasatch Counties!