Public Spirit May 2012

What you’ll find in this month’s edition:

  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • AmeriCorps Member Spotlight Mike Walls, Promise Fellow
  • Upcoming Events InfoProject Homeless ConnectDay of Outdoor Service
  • AmeriCorps Service Opportunities for 2012-13!

Upcoming Events Calendar

May 14, 2012

Project Homeless Connect Sign up here!

May 18-19, 2012

Day of Outdoor Service Sign up here!

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight

Mike Walls, Promise Fellow by Riley Lindberg

While studying Biology at the Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Mike Walls displayed a penchant for helping others. He coached Special Olympics, taught immigrants to read and write English, and worked with a non-profit that helped people with disabilities. After graduating from college in 2010, Mike jumped at the chance to serve others in his hometown of Fergus Falls, Minnesota as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow.

“When I was presented with the opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in, I seized the offer immediately. I remember how much of an impact local mentors had on me growing up in Fergus Falls and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for the next two years.”

AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in Minnesota are coordinated by the Minnesota Alliance with Youth, which works to encourage youth to be actively engaged in their communities, develop strong voices, and acquire skills needed for success in school, work, and life. Serving through the Community Education department of the Fergus Falls school district, Mike stays busy focusing on these goals.

“I coordinate several school programs such as Make a Difference, Adopt-a-class, Senior Mentorship, and various functions the school administers. I often participate in event and program planning for youth and am frequently contacted when community leaders would like to incorporate youth volunteers in their endeavors.”

Mike also spends time tutoring and mentoring students.

“My favorite moments are when I’m with a student and able to learn more about their personal lives. I’ve come to the realization that when youth are affirmed that you really do care about them, they are willing to be your best friend forever.”

This fall, Mike will be attending the University of Minnesota School of Law, but he is very grateful for the chance he had to serve as an AmeriCorps member.

“The opportunity AmeriCorps gave me to create meaningful relationships, for personal and professional development, to reflect and evaluate life, has enabled me to feel confident in what decision I made to take another step forward in my life.”

For more information about AmeriCorps Promise Fellows visit

Upcoming Events Info

Gardening On May Day

Sign up for the Day of Outdoor Service here!The InterCorps Council is excited to partner with a variety of sites to provide AmeriCorps and community members across the state a chance to get their hands dirty and work outside!

We are excited to provide service opportunities with the Community Design Center of Minnesota, Youth Farm, Quarry Hill Nature Center, Habitat for Humanity and more!

Please check this link to find out what service options are available in your area and sign up today for the site of your choosing! Although the tasks at each site may vary (use the link to read specific details for each event), volunteers at every site will have ample opportunities to work outdoors and experience the beautiful spring weather.

Sign up for the Day of Outdoor Service here!

Project Homeless Connect

Register here!

Project Homeless Connect (PHC), based on a nationally implemented best practice, is a one-stop-shop of comprehensive support services for people experiencing homelessness.  Project Homeless Connect will be held on May 14th, 2012 from 9:00am-4:00pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center located at 1301 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403.You MUST also register directly through the PHC Hennepin County website after completing this registration ( There will also be a link to the PHC registration on the confirmation page after you submit this registration.

Also, note you MUST attend a mandatory training prior to the event. If you have already attended a training for PHC in the past, you do not need to complete it again.

Festival Of Nations (May 3-6)

by Emily Hipps

The Festival of Nations celebrates cultural diversity with food, music, demonstrations, exhibits and dance. It is an opportunity for member of the Twin Cities community to display and renew a sense of pride in our respective ethnic heritages. It is also a chance to develop an appreciation for, rather then just a tolerance of, other people’s culture. This year, the Festival of Nations runs May 3-6, 2012 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. In its 80th year, the Festival of Nations is Minnesota’s largest and longest running multicultural festival.The ethnic café area features food from 35 cultures. From Norwegian lefse to Thai noodles, each Café is an experience in world dining. The bazaar area features unique imported gifts from 51 cultures. Over 100 dancers and musicians perform continuously on three stages throughout the Festival. Cultural exhibits and folk arts demonstrations complete the Festival’s celebration of local identities within our global community.

Among the colorful costumes and aromas of exotic foods, two AmeriCorps VISTAs will be assisting with the event. Dani Thompson and Emily Hipps both serve at the International Institute of Minnesota, the organization which sponsors the festival. For the duration of the Festival, they will be putting aside their capacity-building activities and joining in on the heavy lifting and crowd organizing necessary to ensure the festival runs smoothly.

Both VISTAs will be managing separate food booths, coordinating volunteers, and filling-in as needed. Their cohort from the Phillips Sectoral Employment Initiative will join them on Friday to volunteer in various capacities. The Festival of Nation’s success relies heavily on its 300-plus volunteers.

For more information about the Festival, please visit their website at

AmeriCorps Service Opportunities For 2012-13!

Interested in serving with AmeriCorps? Whether it’s your first year or you’re looking to continue with a different site, here are some service opportunities that you can check our or pass along!

Remember that you can browse the My AmeriCorps portal as well!

Are you a current VISTA interested in becoming a VISTA Leader next year? Here is the list of all VISTA Leader positions found in Minnesota! Remember, though, that these positions require candidates to already have a year of VISTA-specific experience.