My AmeriCorps Experience

AmeriCorps Logo, 2018

After college, I decided to join AmeriCorps to gain work experience. I hoped to get a better idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

A Lost Undergrad

In 2018, I was a graduating senior that was lost and had no clue what I wanted to do for a career. Studying Environmental & Plant Biology at Ohio University was an fantastic experience.

I had opportunities to conduct research projects where I quickly learned that the “peer-review” life in a laboratory was not for me. What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to figure out my life and prepare for my impending student loans?


AmeriCorps saved me and gave me a newly found sense of purpose. 

I heard about AmeriCorps in passing when one of my friends deliberated between Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. I liked the idea of serving my local community and returning home to the Chicagoland area.

I searched for environmental programs near my hometown and Chicago. In the end, I wanted to use my botany and environmental science skills to fight climate change. 

Greenest Region Corps

Greenest Region Corps Logo

I choose the Greenest Region Corps, or GRCorps, out of ten other environmental AmeriCorps programs. I was interested on working in sustainability projects like recycling education and composting. On the other hand, I had no idea of how the local government works. 

Local government was something of an enigma to me. I would later discover how much power there was at a village or city level. As a GRCorps member, I worked with the Village of Libertyville and the Village of Grayslake. Each village and city has its own unique methodology of governance and implementation of programs.

Sustainability action at the local level is a rising concern. Both villages had a sustainability focus on decreasing their landfill contributions by recycling and composting initiatives.

Libertyville wanted to increase its commercial and residential recycling participants. Grayslake wanted to jump-start a residential composting subscription service. At both sites, I was fortunate to have the freedom to research other sustainable actions that each village could implement. 

The experience with community interaction uncovered my aptitude for public relations and public engagement. I didn’t realize I was very much a “people person.”

Watching the expression of delight from residents and teaching others on sustainability brought me joy. Residents were ecstatic to hear that their community was starting a composting program. 


My life would be substantially different if I didn’t choose to become an AmeriCorps member. I’ve made life long friends, learned about new passions, and expanded on new skill sets. 

I learned the true meaning of community and what it takes to enact social change. Real change comes about with forming connections and pooling our resources and talents together. We are stronger together than we are apart.

AmeriCorps offers a variety of programs outside of environmentalism. There are programs for helping veterans, education, disaster relief, and more. You can’t go wrong with any of the programs. It is a matter of finding the right fit.

And fun fact, anyone above 18 can join. There are even programs for seniors to help mentor the younger generations or caregiving to fellow seniors in need. 

I highly recommend giving AmeriCorps a try if you ever want to give back to the community. The connections and impact you can make are endless.