On Wednesday, I attended a webinar focused on helping
VISTA/AmeriCorps members prepare for living on the allowance. The main point of the webinar was creating a budget and sticking to that budget. The highlight of the webinar was hearing first hand experience from a VISTA member serving in Washington (state). As a part-time AmeriCorps member last year and a full-time member this year, I can relate to the financial struggles she shared. Her honesty and openness was admirable. She helped paint the rest of the AmeriCorps picture for current and prospective members by giving personal examples of how living on the allowance is a definite challenge, but possible.
Here is my take on it. Am I rich after two years with Volunteer Maryland, no. Was it worth it, yes! Being able to give back to Maryland communities has been remarkable. I have gained valuable knowledge about the nonprofit sector, national service, and myself! Not every job offers and delivers those opportunities. Before making the AmeriCorps pledge, I recommend you asking yourself “What am I hoping to gain from this experience?” Most likely you will receive more than expected (which is a good thing), but it is important to know what you want in the beginning to keep you motivated to achieve that goal.
If you are interested in learning more about Volunteer Maryland (VM) and what it is like to be a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator and AmeriCorps member with this program, visit VM’s web site. Maureen’s post from this week is a great resource on what VM is looking for. You will not be disappointed so why not check them out? Where else can you build a human pyramid and work at the same time?!