Public Spirit May 2011

What you’ll find in this month’s edition

  • When it Rains, it Pours (Kickball for a Cause)
  • My Corps Values
  • Duluth Receives a Deluge of Help
  • Super Charge Your Service Trainings

When It Rains, It Pours (Kickball For A Cause)

On Saturday, May 14th, over 60 AmeriCorps members and community participants braved the frigid weather to show up  for Kickball for a Cause.  Despite the freezing rain, 40-degree temperatures, and gusts of wind which came and went, players enjoyed their day kicking on the fields as well as kicking it under the tents, socializing that is.  Many AmeriCorps members were heard saying that this event was great because, “It allowed for us to get to meet members from other Corps that we wouldn’t normally get to meet.”

Also, a shout out is in order for the winners of the kickball tournament: the Sphere Smashers!  An even bigger shout out to all the people who donated food.  Nearly 500 pounds of food was donated, all of which benefits the Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis. Great job everyone!  When it comes to committing to service from AmeriCorps members, it truly pours from every one of them.

My Corps Values

My Corps Values Engages AmeriCorps Members, Wraps up AmeriCorps Week

In a corner of the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, AmeriCorps members, alumni, program staff, and community members mingled around paintings, pictures, slide shows and a mobile. What was happening? The My Corps Values Showcase and Discussion.

To end a very successful AmeriCorps week, the InterCorps Council of Minnesota’s Training and Education Committee hosted My Corps Values, a project that seeks to engage former and current AmeriCorps members to creatively express the impact their national service experience has had on them. This project is based on the idea that an AmeriCorps member’s service can have not only a powerful, positive impact on the community, but also that the service experience can have a powerful and positive impact on the member.

Fifteen different projects ranged from a slide show of photos created by City of Saint Paul VISTA members, to a mobile of objects representing service, to a collage of student pictures from a Minnesota Reading Corps member. There were over sixty attendees at the My Corps Values Showcase and Discussion, and they were also encouraged to create their own project using blank paper and markers provided.

If you couldn’t make it to My Corps Values but want to see the submissions, check out the My Corps Values gallery!

Thank you to Midtown Global Market for donating the space and to Serve Minnesota and Holy Land Bakery and Deli for providing food.

Duluth Receives A Deluge Of Help

In the fresh lake air of Duluth, AmeriCorps members and people from the community teamed up to help the Duluth Community Gardens Program. The program will ultimately benefit a local school and promote healthy eating habits for neighborhood youth.     The day started off with a plan of having around twenty volunteers plus Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Assistant Superintendent Bill Gronseth, who participated as ‘AmeriCorps Members for a Day.’ Volunteers helped out with planting and building.  They built four wheelchair accessible raised vegetable beds and planted ten apple trees.

They helped to save Duluth Community Gardens over $500 in operating costs and laid the groundwork to provide over 150 students with learning opportunities. By the end of the day the Duluth service project saw more than fifty volunteers! A good handful of volunteers were members of the community that had heard of the project and decided to help out while passing by. Even school children on a field trip lent a helping hand.

Overall, the Duluth Community Gardens Program had more help than they could have asked for. They even had the “AmeriCorps Members for a Day” participate in some difficult digging. Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Assistant Superintendent Bill Gronseth engaged in hard work and cheer. Duluth AmeriCorps members were motivated and delighted to be a part of nearly 300 members taking part in the Day of Service for National AmeriCorps week.  To read more about this fantastic day of service, please click here.

Super Charge Your Service Trainings

100 AmeriCorps Members Get Training on Myers-Briggs, Gender, Financial Literacy, and More.

The picturesque scene of Lake Como in Saint Paul was the perfect place for nearly 100 AmeriCorps members to gather on a warm Tuesday afternoon for free professional and personal development opportunities as a part of AmeriCorps Week 2011. The Training and Education Committee of the InterCorps Council of Minnesota held “Super-Charge Your Service” at Black Bear Crossing on Tuesday, May 17, which was a full day of trainings specifically designed for AmeriCorps members. Training topics included Practicing Balanced Spending, From “Me” to “We” Financial Planning, Non-Profits 101, The Myers-Briggs Personality Test, Introduction to Gender, and Personal and Professional Style on a Budget.

The ICC of MN partnered with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans as a part of their STAGES initiative for the Practicing Balanced Spending and From “Me” to “We” Financial Planning trainings. The Practicing Financial Spending session focused on “balancing” rather than “budgeting,” and introduced startling statistics to show the importance of “balanced” spending and saving. In “Me” to “We,” participants were given practical action steps on how to make combining finances as stress-free as possible. Participant Alana Stimes says she “learned how people who are combining finances are able to recognize their own personal values, see what they have in common, and move forward financially from there.” More information from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans can be found at www.thrivent.com or www.thrivent.com/stages.

In Non-Profits 101, ICC members Spencer Neitzel and Laura Stone gave an overview of how nonprofits function financially, and the different models that are used. Members were also encouraged to think critically about how the nonprofits they serve with work, and how members believe nonprofits should work through a agree/disagree spectrum exercise.  Small group discussion wrapped up the training, giving members a chance to share what they had learned in the session. For more information on nonprofits in Minnesota, visit Minnesota Council of Nonprofits at www.minnesotanonprofits.org.

Audrey Quanrud, Marriage and Family Counselor, facilitated the Myers-Briggs Personality Test session. Though many members had taken the Mysers-Briggs test online prior to the training, Ms. Quanrud used interactive exercises to help members confirm–or sometimes rethink–their test results. She emphasized that though test results are generally accurate, the exercises she used help people see each aspect of the personality test and how it fits into their lives.

The Introduction to Gender session was led by Laura Stone of the ICC. In this interactive workshop, Ms. Stone led members to explore some of the topics pertaining to creating a supportive community for all gender-related issues. Activities included defining gender-neutral vocabulary and sharing experiences of how gender has impacted members’ lives and service.

In Personal and Professional Style on a Budget, ICC members Alana Stimes and Spencer Neitzel moderated a panel-style discussion with two fashion bloggers, Sally McGraw of Already Pretty and Meghan McAndrews of High Plains Thrifter. Ms. McGraw and Ms. McAndrews spoke about how creating your own style not only shows off your personality, but also gives you confidence in both the workplace and in your personal life. Both bloggers gave practical advise for buying clothes on a budget, including thrift stores, outlet malls, affordable tailors, and dyeing clothes at home. Check out their blogs at www.alreadypretty.com and www.highplainsthrifter.net.

All trainers for Super-Charge Your Service did so pro-bono, donating over a thousand dollars worth of training to AmeriCorps members. Training space was provided by Black Bear Crossing, and food was provided by Serve Minnesota. Thank you to all who made this event happen!