Things to Consider

AmeriCorps members are most successful when they have had the opportunity to explore their motives and learn the facts before they commit to a year of personal and professional growth, challenge, and opportunity.

Commitment

An AmeriCorps term is quite a commitment! To earn 1,700 hours, AmeriCorps members need to invest 8-10 hours per day. To reach the 1,700 hours, you must participate in activities after school and through the school's winter and spring breaks. Occasionally, you will need to volunteer your time on weekends.

A position can usually not be re-filled if a member does not finish his or her year. The site and students lose the support of an AmeriCorps member for the remainder of the year.

If the AmeriCorps stipend is your only source of income, members must be able to live on a tight budget.

Skills and Qualities

 

  • Our members say that organizational skills are important for AmeriCorps members, and that if they don't have them at the beginning of the year, they will by the end.

 

  • There is daily, weekly and monthly paperwork connected with our project that measures the impact of the work you do.
  • You will be responsible for compiling information using specific data collection tools.

  • You will be asked to write monthly reflections of your experiences.
  • AmeriCorps members have found that they must be flexible in the time they invest in their service. One service day may be seven hours long, and the next might be nine.

  • Strong interpersonal skills are very important! You will often work together with a group of AmeriCorps members, teams of teachers, or community groups. You will have the opportunity to work with many different personalities, styles, and philosophies. Being able to learn and grow from these types of experiences is important.
  • Basic computer skills are necessary to complete timesheets, reports, and communicate with the team via email.

  • Finally, past members say the ideal member possess or is willing to work towards these qualities:
  • Dedicated to youth or families in need
  • Compassionate and understanding
  • Understands the concept of "service"
  • Patience
  • Punctuality
  • Strong work ethics
  • Self-motivated
  • Flexible
  • Team player
  • Open to new experiences
  • Positive attitude
  • Sense of humor
  • Tolerant of bureaucracy
  • Understands the importance of paperwork
Placement Site

At your site you need to be able to "go with the flow," handle stress, fast-paced work, and changes in direction – all the aspects that go along with developing and implementing an innovative project.

As an AmeriCorps member, you will need incredible enthusiasm and ideas, and will be placed within a site setting where systems, protocol, and values sometimes differ from what you envision. Sometimes, members feel frustrated that they cannot change the academic or social climate of the site. Being able to approach such situations constructively is important.

Our members feel they often make personal sacrifices for the improvement of the site they serve. They don't earn much of a living allowance, and people may expect them to go "above and beyond." On the other hand, sometimes members sense apathy from site staff who don't seem to know or care why they're there. Being able to maintain positive enthusiasm while not overburdening yourself is important.

Relocation

Occasionally members relocate to northern Michigan for their service year, and moving to our area as well as securing housing are the first challenges they will face.

Moving Expenses
Like most AmeriCorps programs, we are not able to reimburse members for their relocation.

Housing Search
Some of the communities we serve are rural, which can mean affordable but sometimes limited housing options. It is up to each individual member to find a place that meets his or her needs in terms of cost, location, and desired living environment.

Tips for a successful housing search:

  • Do some research on housing as early as possible. Finding a place during your first busy days of service can be challenging.
  • If you're interested in living with an AmeriCorps roommate, let us know. We will let other members moving to the area know you are looking for a roommate.
  • Looking for apartments from a distance can be difficult to do, but feel free to ask us what we think of a particular location.
  • Arrive a week early if you would prefer to make in-person housing arrangements. A whole week will give you time to look at several different places.
  • Very few apartments are furnished, but there are always garage sales and several thrift stores.
  • Area Local Paper Website: Petoskey News-Review.