May June Public Spirit 2017

Closing Remarks from our ICC Members

by Raquel MacSwain

Throughout this year, our ICC service members have grown dramatically in their skills and as a group. The hard work and dedication that each and every one of us put in made this year possible. A special shout out to all of our event attendees! You made our events successful!

ICC Members Highlights:


Anonymous quotes from our End of the Year Feedback Survey for ICC:

“The ICC helped me a lot by giving me some very rewarding leadership experience.”

“We had great communication, and I could tell that we enjoyed the work we did and making a

difference in the AmeriCorps community.”

“Don't be afraid to think big. With the proper support of the committee and the council there is nothing that cannot get done. So be sure to ask for those extra hands that are always needed. Above everything else, do not stress yourself out.”

Vice President Amara Robinson for the ICC year:

“I have been so happy with my experience on the ICC. I feel fortunate to have participated in a council like this with people who are driven, creative, and bright. The ICC tried many new events this year and really made the council their own. Every committee branched out and tried something new, which allowed us to impact and engage more AmeriCorps members, and more community members. I know that it takes so much courage and planning to try something new, and that speaks to the quality and character of our members. I gained so much professionally and personally serving as the Vice President, and I was lucky to serve with all of these amazing people. I cannot wait to see what happens next year with the council!”

As stated before, none of this would have been possible without passionate AmeriCorps members coming together to show their appreciation for not only AmeriCorps, but the surrounding communities as well!

If you’re interested in being a member on the InterCorps Council next year, make sure to connect with your service site for more details on how to get involved!

Corps Connections success!

Corps Connections was a great success! There were 64 people in attendance including 44 Corps members and 20 community members. With many networking opportunities, attendees walked away feeling like the event helped them to make new connections in a comfortable environment.

"Sometimes I am shy when it comes to networking, but this event made it feel easier. I got some really good insight in a relaxed atmosphere."

“I liked that I wasn't pressured to talk to a ton of people and wasn't required to stay a long time. It was my first networking event and I was more comfortable interacting just a little.”

Many thanks to everyone who attended!

AmeriCorps Highlight- Leah Weston

For the Member Spotlight of our last Public Spirit of 2016-17, we turn to Leah Weston. Leah is completing a first year as a Minnesota GreenCorps – Stormwater Track member in Faribault, Minnesota. She chose to serve a gap year between completing college and graduate school in restoration ecology.

Her project emphasis has been on improving outreach and education for handling stormwater and developing rain gardens. One success involved a family, new to Minnesota, receiving a grant to remove their grass and put in a rain garden this summer to help reduce untreated runoff.

“AmeriCorps has shown me the real value in education and has taught me how to communicate complex, technical topics in basic, easily understandable language. So often, scientists talk over everyone’s heads, assuming people know the language they are using. I want to help bridge the communication gap between scientists and non-scientists. AmeriCorps has helped me develop those skills.”

In addition to her GreenCorps position, Leah served as an ICC Ambassador. “I feel I have developed connections and gained insight into AmeriCorps programs more than I would if I had not been a member of the ICC. It has helped me connect to the broader, service-oriented mission of AmeriCorps, which is so important in a rural area.”

Leah sends a shout out to her fellow ambassadors for their support, especially to Amara Robinson and Rachael Snavely for helping her clean 42 bags of trash from a Faribault creek.

Shout out to the ICC Ambassadors!

We asked the ICC ambassadors a few questions, including what they liked about the ICC to wrap up the year. A big thank you to the ambassadors; your outreach and service this year was incredible. Cheers to you!

1. What is the role of an ambassador and what has been your favorite part of that role?

The role of an InterCorps Council Ambassador is to serve as a point of contact and representative in greater Minnesota for current, future, and past AmeriCorps members. Educating the public and supporting recruitment efforts that engage interest in AmeriCorps service is an important responsibility in our local communities.

My favorite part of being an ICC Ambassador has been connecting with other AmeriCorps members who are serving a variety of sites and capacities. There are so many different opportunities for people to participate in AmeriCorps in areas that drive their own interests and future goals, while serving Minnesota.

2. What is the purpose of this outreach?

The ambassadors do a lot of outreach to spread the word about AmeriCorps programs and events to bring everyone together!  The purpose of outreach events is to inform and engage the community about national service, the opportunities and benefits for those who dedicate a year or more to service, and to be leaders in our community.

3. How has the ICC helped you grow?

The ICC has supported me in finding other AmeriCorps members who have similar goals, challenges, and outcomes of their service year. ICC has been a network of support during my service year and I hope as an Ambassador my experience and knowledge as also able to support others in their service year!

What I like about the ICC is the ability to see how our diverse roles can work together to accomplish even more. I've learned more about the other AmeriCorps programs just by being an ambassador--and honestly it's made me want to try them all out! I wish there was no maximum limit on service so I could spend a year in each program, but that's not going to happen just yet. :)

4. Where are you located for your service and what is the most fun thing to do there?

I am located in Grand Rapids, MN. The arts community in Grand Rapids is vibrant and growing so going to events at the MacRostie Art Gallery, the Reif Center, or at Itasca Community College has been fantastic!

I have been a K-Focus Reading Corps tutor at Parker Elementary in Elk River for the past two years. I think the most fun thing to do is to build relationships with the kids I service and to keep track of their success stories (as well as the funny things kindergarteners will say from time to time!)

Shout outs from an ICC ambassador:

I want to thank Amara for always hosting our monthly conference calls for us ambassadors. She is the essence of bubbly enthusiasm and empathy, and she has been a most supportive asset. t's been a really good experience. I would highly recommend it.

If your time of service will be ending, please don't forget to become registered as an AmeriCorps alumni. Alumni can still participate in ICC and other team building events. Don't forget to switch your Public Spirit subscription to your permanent email address to stay on top of future events.

Public Spirit, April 2017

Zero Waste – Sunday, May 7 2017 - Celebrate with the May Day Green Team!                                 Where: Powderhorn Park Building, 3400 15th Ave South, Minneapolis                                   Join us in working towards a greener festival!                                              Help boost May Day's composting and recycling efforts - assisting folks with sorting their items at a waste station while affirming the impact of their actions.

Pitch in towards the end of the event to help measure how much waste was diverted from the landfill!

For more info about the May Day Parade, please visit Heart of the Beast.                     Free food and a t-shirt for volunteers who work a full 3-hour shift!                                 Sign up here: May Day Volunteer 

Grow your network in the Twin Cities community, and gain advice, resources, and potential opportunities for the future!

Tuesday, May 16th from 4-8pm at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity 1954 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

Come and enjoy an evening connecting with AmeriCorps members, alumni, and other professionals in the community in preparation for your next steps. Community representatives will offer career advice and share potential opportunities within their organization. AmeriCorps alumni & other community members representing non-profit organizations, colleges, government, the corporate sector, and other institutions to help you get a foot in the door in the area you want. The event is a few hours long. If you can make it for any amount of time stop by and say hi!

There will be light snacks/hor d'oeuvres/appetizers, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages. First come, first served.

Professional head shots will be available; don't miss out! RSVP Here!

On Earth Day, April 22nd, 9 volunteers signed up with ICC to participate in planting at Bushway Road. These dedicated volunteers beautified and supported the earth by digging in the dirt. A total of 200 volunteers came together at Wayzata’s historic scenic roadway to plant 1,100 perennials and 700 trees in one day!! Thank you to all who volunteered that day.  

On Earth Day, April 22nd, 9 volunteers signed up with ICC to participate in planting at Bushway Road. These dedicated volunteers beautified and supported the earth by digging in the dirt. A total of 200 volunteers came together at Wayzata’s historic scenic roadway to plant 1,100 perennials and 700 trees in one day!! Thank you to all who volunteered that day.  

THE END IS NEAR by Raquel MacSwain

            Time flies, doesn’t it? Seems like yesterday our programs began and everything seemed so new and intimidating. Some members are pushing themselves to the very end with the high levels of work. For others, things are beginning to slow down, and they may even have some more time to think about the “FUTURE”.                                                          

Regardless where you may fit in as an AmeriCorps member, the future is something we all have to consider. If you have decided to return for a second year, or found a job after your term of service, CONGRATS! However, for those still trying to figure out what to do next, this can be an daunting step to head back into the job search all over again.                                

For those searching several job websites, such as the listing on Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, it can be hard to remember other ways in which you can put yourself out there. A great way to do this is through attending networking events or even career fairs. Do you remember what you need to bring to these events? If not, check this out!

Things you SHOULD bring to /do at a Networking Event or Career Fair:

·         Appropriate attire: check event to make sure you match what is recommended.

·         At a career fair, make sure to have resumes on hand to provide on the spot so recruiters remember you and can reference you off hand.

·         At a networking event, it’s better to have a business card OR make sure to get a business card from the individual you are connecting with IF you’ve built enough rapport with that person. Reach out to them later and connect via email or LinkedIn to thank them for their time and for help if they provided some.

·         Bring a notepad to take notes so you can remember valuable information that you learn during the event.

·         Come prepared with questions or an overall goal from attending the event. Don’t try to follow only what your friends are doing, or you may miss out on a wonderful opportunity.

·         Treat each person as if they are your friend by being polite, not going into a conversation only to talk about yourself. Make sure to make this natural and genuine.

·         Most importantly, don’t spread yourself too thin by talking to everyone in the room. Talk to the people you think will provide you better perspective or tips for your career growth for a longer period of time. Focusing on fewer people gives you time to make your interactions more meaningful.

Upcoming Events to Consider:                                                                                             Minneapolis Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fairs                                           Thur May 4th: 11:00 am-2 pm at the U.S. Bank Stadium (Legacy Gate Entrance)

**There are many resources for other events. To get started, check EventBrite, MeetUp, Pollenmidwest**

Check out these articles to help you prepare for your next steps after service! By: Marlee Davis

Improving your Resume

8 Critical Ways To Improve Your Resume -  Tips on how to optimize your resume for electronic scanning systems or for human readers sorting through a multitude of applicants. This article also gives lots of links to further reading for those who want to really dig into their resume.

7 Creative Ways to Greatly Improve Your Resume  - Ideas for making your resume attention-grabbing and tailored for a specific opportunity.

Building your LinkedIn

How To Update Your LinkedIn Profile for 2017  - Your LinkedIn can be a great tool, when it's kept up-to-date. This article will guide you through LinkedIn updates to make your profile reflect you well.

9 Surefire Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile When You Only Have 10 minutes  - Looking for a quick-fix for your LinkedIn? This article will give you some ideas for small changes that can add real strength to your profile.

Looking for the job

5 Job Search Tactics That Work - And 5 That Don't  - Guidance on a few ways to more effectively land your next opportunity and tips on a few common mistakes that lead to an ineffective job search.

The One Tiny Change That Could Open Up All The Doors In Your Job Search  - Here's a hint: you're going to want to start talking to people about your job search more often. Read this article for one easy way you can boost your chances of finding your next great job.

Acing the interview

10 Best Job Interview Tips for Jobseekers - Prepare for your interview and present yourself well to get yourself one step closer to that offer you're looking for. This article gives some of the most important tips for successful interviews.

The Ultimate Interview Guide: 30 Prep Tips for Job Interview Success  - Extensive advice on how to bring your A-game to an interview, including a few little tips you probably haven't thought of!

Americorps Resources

Americorps and Your Career  - Americorps has lots of resources to support members and alumni in pursuing successful careers. Don't forget to check everything available to you here.

Employers of National Service  - While looking for your next opportunity, consider perusing the list of Employers of National Service. These employers will truly value your service.

Segal Education Award Info By: Rachel LaForge

As our terms of service are beginning to wrap up, I'd like to touch on one of the benefits accrued, the Segal Education Award.

Segal Education awards are given to AmeriCorps members who successfully complete their terms of service. The amount varies based on whether a member is full time, part time, or seasonal, but the maximum award for for service that started in fiscal year 2016 is $5,775. These funds may be used to either pay tuition and fees at qualifying institutions, pay towards the balance on outstanding federal loans, or (for members who were 55 or older at the start of their term of service) be gifted to certain direct family members to use for tuition and fees at qualified institutions.

Your Segal Award will be held in trust for a maximum of 7 years, so if you are not in college now but will be soon, your award will wait for you. Your Segal award is considerable taxable income in the year that it is used, and you will receive a 1099 form at tax time.

The maximum number of terms of service (and thus the maximum amount of Segal award that can be accrued) varies by program and assignment. You can start here or here for basic information. Contact your program manager if you have further questions.

Public Spirit, March 2017

Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service By: Ashley Strusz

Mayors and county officials hold a unique role in our country's government. Focusing on their citizens’ local needs matches closely with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) mission to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement. Increasingly, mayors’ and county officials are turning to national service as a cost-effective and capacity building strategy to meet local challenges. On April 4, 2017, mayors, county officials, and tribal leaders will join in the fifth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service. By holding public events and local media our leaders will highlight the value of national service. In 2016, 3,539 elected officials across 50 states recognized the work of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers.

Learn more about how your local elected official could get involved! 

Check out the elected officials who have already signed on to participate in 2017!

Public Spirit, January 2017

Meet the  2016-2017 InterCorps Council

Written by: Ashley Strusz

While 2016 has come and gone, the InterCorps Council is looking forward to a brand new year. With a brand new InterCorps Council Executive Team and Council Members we are excited for a new year to begin! Members of the council represent AmeriCorps State & National and VISTA streams of service. Council members are coming from organizations such as Reading Corps, College Possible, Green Corps, and Emerge. Each member of the council is participating in one committee. The committees include communication, education and training, service, and a social networking committee. Each committee is working to serve those who serve.

Public Spirit, December 2016

Salutations from ICC Minnesota!

Welcome to the first Public Spirit publication from the 2016-17 ICC council! The council is excited and ready to get started for the year, but first we need your feedback! Please take some time to participate in our survey so that we can better survey (get it? serve-ay) all AmeriCorps members in Minnesota. Click this link to share your thoughts on how we can help and support you during your year of service.