Alumni Feature - Kyle Kline
Kyle Kline, Recruitment & Program Coordinator at Minnesota Alliance with Youth
Where (and which program), when, and why did you join AmeriCorps?
I served two terms as an AmeriCorps member. My first term was with AmeriCorps NCCC at the Vicksburg, Mississippi, campus in 2009-10 and then as a Student Conservation Association Green Cities Sustainability Fellow in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. To be honest I joined AmeriCorps because I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated college. As a first generation college student, I didn't have many people in my life to show me what was supposed to come next. After researching grad schools, I realized I wasn't at all prepared for that next step, but I kept seeing that volunteer experience looked good on applications. So I started doing some googling and came across AmeriCorps. I had a friend who just graduated who was serving as an NCCC member and gave him a call. After talking to him for about an hour I was convinced that AmeriCorps was right for me. The rest is history.
What was your role/what did you do?
In NCCC my team served in a wide range of projects across the Southern US. We built houses with Habitat for Humanity, restored an oyster reef habitat in Savannah, Georgia, organized a princess tea party in Hurricane, West Virginia, and ran chainsaws all day on a disaster relief project after a tornado in Yazoo City, Mississippi. As a Green Cities Fellow I served at Global Links, a Pittsburgh based nonprofit that takes in medical surplus from area hospitals and works with medical centers and doctors in Latin America and the Caribbean to get them the specific supplies they need.
How has serving impacted what you decided to do in life?
In all the ways. I probably would have never left small town Pennsylvania. Moving to Mississippi for NCCC was the first time I was ever on a plane and the farthest west and south I'd ever been. My AmeriCorps experience opened up so many doors for me that I decided I want my career to focus on ensuring that AmeriCorps opportunities are available for generations to come.
How has your AmeriCorps service supported you?
It's given me access to a lot of social capital that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise. I grew up and went to college in rural parts of Pennsylvania and had never had the opportunity to get out of that bubble. Through the people I've met in AmeriCorps, I've been able to travel the country and always have couches to sleep on and friends that I know will always be there for me and make me a better person. On the other side of that coin, my service experience showed me how much privilege I have and that I will always have a lot to learn.
What was your favorite part of serving?
Besides being able to make an actual impact in the communities I served, it has to be all the friends I made. My NCCC team was the weirdest/best group of people that I ever could have asked to spend 24/7 with for 10 months and my SCA Green Cities crew helped me learn how to navigate living in the big city of Pittsburgh. I have about a hundred stories to tell about our adventures, so free to reach out sometime. I love swapping AmeriCorps stories.
Please also give us a little blurb on your role as the MN Alliance's Recruitment Manager:
I manage all of the Alliance's recruitment efforts including both our Promise Fellow and VISTA programs.
What is one thing you wish you had known before you started your year of service?
I wish I did more informational interviews and got to know folks folks who were serving in other programs.
What is a tip on using your ed award?
I don't have a good answer for this other than to use it.