Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy 2008

Hi All,

Welcome back for another year of volunteer service on the Gulf Coast. We had a bit of a break to reflect and prepare for the upcoming year when the 2007 AmeriCorps program year ended at Thanksgiving. Now, we're almost ready for all the challenges awaiting us in 2008.

The big thing is that AmeriCorps orientation starts tomorrow, 7 Jan 07, for roughly 25 people. Yes, Program Year 2008 starts tomorrow. OK, technically, it starts on the 8th and the 7th is only for the folks who are going to live with us, but the AmeriCorps members have already started arriving - those who aren't continuing service from last year that is.

We're excited to have everyone returning and arriving for the first time. Through out the year, our AmeriCorps members will build houses, tutor kids, educate the community on various issues, spruce up green spaces, work on art projects with kids, lead Alternative Spring Breakers from colleges around the country, and participate in a few days of service.

It's a packed schedule. Both Eddie and Sheli - along with our new construction supervisors Brian and John - are ready to build a bunch of houses for residents along the Gulf Coast. With some unique partnerships with corporations interested in helping the Gulf Coast get back on their feet, the building crew is ready to roll.

On the community side, Caitlin has been working diligently to develop partnerships with other agencies along the Gulf where members can develop projects and serve the Gulf Coast residents in a different way. Building homes is cool, visible, and critical recovery, but so too are the many services that AmeriCorps members who work in the community area. Kids need enrichment activities and adults need to have opportunities to give back to their own communities.

That's exactly what AmeriCorps members on the community side will be doing. They will work in or with partner agencies to develop sustainable volunteer programs that engage residents of the Gulf Coast. Lofty stuff for recent high school and college grads.

So, an exciting year of building and transition lays ahead of us. Come join us.

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