Public Spirit, January 2015

Welcome To The First Public Spirit Of 2015!

New year, new you? It’s been just that for us at the InterCorps Council of Minnesota-Hopefully the previous edition helped give you a good start to the new year! Here at the ICC, it’s 2015 and look at all we’ve accomplished so far-one hugely successful MLK Weekend of Service (more on that later!), our first officialnetworking event, and a hugely spectacular AmeriCorps Week currently in the throes of being planned. Without further ado, let us present January’s Public Spirit, jam packed with articles on Valentine’s Day, an ICC ambassador spotlight, an MLK Weekend of service recap, and so much more. Enjoy!

One Is The Loneliest Number: AmeriCorps Week

 

I embarked on my AmeriCorps year of service thinking it would be filled with new faces and plenty of socializing. This has partly come true, but on some days during my service, I feel like TJ Detweiler from Recess. Who remembers in the movie (spoiler alert, him and his gang defeat ninjas trying to take over the school), when during the very beginning, all his friends go off to summer camp and no one, except for Randall (gross), is left to play dodgeball? If you need a refresher (or want to relive your youth), you can watch the movie here! This is how I feel from time to time; service is rewarding and I know as an AmeriCorps member I’m positively impacting many lives, but sometimes, I just want someone to play dodgeball with.

If you are feeling what I’m feeling, then there is hope for you…because coming this March to a gym near you…DODGEBALL!!!! That is right, members! AmeriCorps Week is March 9-13, 2015! Throughout this week, ICC will be providing you with different activities and ways to socialize and network with other members currently serving. The week will end with a dodgeball tournament open to AmeriCorps members and their friends on Saturday, March 13th!

Other events going on during AmeriCorps Week include training workshops, service opportunities, a grant-writing clinic, and a celebration including pizza. If the word pizza didn’t convince you, then I’m not sure what else will!

To stay up to date on all the events during AmeriCorps Week, go like InterCorps Council of Minnesota on Facebook: facebook.com/ICCMN and follow us on Twitter:twitter.com/ICCofMN! More information is also coming your way in the mid-month update, so stay tuned. Don’t be lonely-be in the know!

 

Valentine’s Day: The Good, the Ugly, and the Expensive

Whether you are in a relationship, starting a relationship, single or married, this article will give you ideas on how to enjoy your Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank! But before we begin, let’s hear a couple Valentine’s Day make-you-melt and horror stories from your fellow AmeriCorps members:

The Good:

“During my junior year of college, my boyfriend was an exchange student at a University in Munich, Germany. He left Minnesota in September and wouldn’t be home until the following August! I was not looking forward to Valentine’s Day or really anything that reminded me that my boyfriend lived over 4500 miles away. The day before Valentine’s Day, my roommate called and asked me to come back to the apartment to chat about something—it seemed suspicious. And sure enough, as I walked in the door, there stood my boyfriend who had come home to surprise me, his family and friends.”

The Ugly:

“One year, the guy I was seeing was part of the acapella group on campus. Every year for Valentine’s Day, you could purchase a singing telegram from them to serenade your special someone. They spent all day running around campus tracking people down and singing to them. That year, I was sure since my boyfriend was part of the group that they’d come sing to me. I spent all day looking forward to my special song and dance…and they never came!”

Do you have a special someone you want to impress this Valentine’s Day but are tight on money? Here are some cheap ideas to make your Valentine’s Day special:

  1. If you are in a relationship, make something yourself—a nice card, a hand-written letter about how much they mean to you, a picture collage of the two of you, a coupon book of things they like to do or need done, etc.
  2. If this is a first date or a couple dates in, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a gift; make it simple. Buy them a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, or bake them some cookies or other sweets, etc.
  3. Make dinner at home instead of going to a restaurant. Tell them you have a new recipe you would like to try or make their favorite meal. Buy a few candles to make it romantic!
  4. Grab a few movies from Redbox and watch them at home instead of going to a theater. Turn off the lights, grab blankets, cozy up on the couch, and watch the movies.
  5. Don’t want to do everything at home? Download the app ThriftyHipster; it will give you happy hour specials. If you don’t have a smart phone, don’t sweat it, you can check it out online as well. Unfortunately, this app only works for the Metro area.
  6. Don’t live in the Metro area? No problem! Here are a few websites that give activities happening outside the Metro area: 

Southern Minnesota Mankato Northern Minnesota Snowshoeing

Are you single this year, and still want to have some fun on the Day of Love? It may seem like everyone around you has a significant other, but you would be surprised at how many people are in the same boat! A few ideas for the singles:

  1. If you and others you know are single, be each others’ Valentines! Set a budget and give each other gifts.
  2. Look at the “dating” tips above and turn it into a Valentine’s Day among friends!
  3. Appreciate you don’t have to spend money on gifts-Valentine’s Day can be expensive!
  4. Bill Nye the Science Guy will be in the cities on Valentine’s Day speaking at Augsburg College from 11:30-12:30pm! Good for couples too! Tickets are available online here. 

Whether you’re single, dating, or married, Happy Valentine’s Day from the InterCorps Council of Minnesota to you!

 

InterCorps Council’s MLK Weekend of Service Recap!

In response to MLK’s famous question, “What are you doing for others?”, the InterCorps Council of Minnesota has an answer! After the ICC’s Service Committee planned 20+ volunteer opportunities across Minnesota for MLK Day of Service and the days leading up to it, the data is finally here! Give yourself a pat on the back, participants, because you helped us blow 2015’s MLK Weekend of Service out of the water and into the sky!

1. Over 200 AmeriCorps volunteers participated

2. A collective 749 volunteer hours were completed

3. 15 organizations participated throughout the weekend

5. Huge gains were made specifically in the areas of food accesseducation, andeconomic opportunity

What volunteers had to say the highlight of their service was:

“Working up a sweat”

“The experience of giving back!”

“Chatting with service members I hadn’t met before”

“Serving folks in the community and seeing their smiling faces!”

“Meeting other service members and volunteers working together for a great purpose”

“Seeing national service members from an array of programs all here for the same reason!!”

A huge shout-out once more to all participants in the InterCorps Council MLK Weekend of Service. To go more in-depth into the volunteer impact, click here to see the official ICC impact report.

 

Upcoming Events: Service and Training Opportunities

Service Project at The Arc Gala: Saturday, February 7th

Join the ICC and the Service Committee in a night full of glamour and good deeds! Volunteer with Arc Greater Twin Cities in their annual Gala event supporting the human rights of people with disabilities. To see all available service opportunities at this unique event, click here. To learn more about The Arc Gala, including which band will be playing and a highlights video from last year, click here. 

Financial Literacy Training Opportunity: Wednesday, February 11th from 6-8 pm

Join the ICC and Education and Training Committee in a Financial Literacy: Beyond the Basics event! Financial literacy and all it refers to can seem overwhelming at times, and it can be hard to sort through all the information to find what’s relevant to you. This event will go beyond the basics of budgeting and financial literacy and get straight to the heart of common issues AmeriCorps members often face. Learn the available tax credits to boost your savings, tools to help track spending and make wise money management decisions, and the best methods to manage credit card and student loan debt. By the end of this training, attendees will leave with new tips, tricks, and vital information to help them navigate their year of service and their financial futures. To inquire after this highly beneficial and free training, please emaileducationtraining@iccminnesota.org. Presented by Lutheran Social Services Financial Counseling.

 

A Note from an ICC Ambassador

Hi everyone! Justine Deutschlander here. I am an ICC ambassador for the Duluth area. I am currently serving my second year with Minnesota Alliance with Youth, as a Promise Fellow, at Proctor Middle School and High School. A little about myself…(read the next couple of sentences with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song in mind), In South Philadelphia born and raised, but now Proctor, Minnesota is where I spend most of my days… Well, that’s all I got. I have never been very good at rapping.

My role as an ambassador consists of participating in monthly conference calls with the ICC and being the promoter for them in the Duluth area and with our Promise Fellows. I send out many announcements of ICC events and important information that needs to be shared with other AmeriCorps members. When I am not doing my ambassador duties, I am at my site serving with 8th-10th graders. I implement many different interventions based on my student’s needs inacademicsattendance, and or behavior, as well as monitor their progress. I am also working with students to create a service-learning project: Writing letters to deployed service men and women. Last year, we organized this project and sent out200 letters to Army and Air Force members. It was a great success. I am hoping to double the numbers of letters this year.

Along with serving as a Promise Fellow and being an ICC ambassador, I am part of the Global Youth Service Day committee as a service project coordinator. I am organizing the project, and am writing letters to public servants and veterans, to take part at GYSD at the Mall of America in April.

I absolutely love serving with AmeriCorps! I have my Associates degree and am currently working on my Bachelors in Elementary Education. Serving with AmeriCorps has given me great experience in my field. When I am not fulfilling one of my duties with AmeriCorps, I enjoy spending time with my husband and watching my almost two–year-old grow. I can only hope that he will learn the importance of giving back and serving others in one way or another. I also hope that he will realize the impact one individual can have on many.

Thank you to all who serve.

 

Personal Impacts of Service: Changing the Community Landscape

As service members, we’re proud of our work, and we’ve all felt that it has apositive effect on Minnesotan communities. But in dreary winter months, when you’re putting numbers together for a report and you’re glum about the lack of sunshine, you may be feeling doubtful that your service actually does have an impact.We all hit that low. To help counter this issue, we sat down with former AmeriCorps VISTA member (and former InterCorps Council President) Andrew Peterson, for his thoughts on how service truly shapes a community, and how it ultimately shaped his career.


When did you serve as an AmeriCorps member?

I served from August 2012 to August 2013 as an AmeriCorps VISTA atAchieveMpls, the nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools.

Relationships are key: what was the most important lesson learned during service?

Definitely, the most important lesson I learned is the value of reaching out to people, building relationships, and seeing where they take you. So many people – personally and professionally – are willing to help you much more than you might imagine. Sometimes, all it takes is a phone call or email to change what you are able to do in the world!

Service as a career gateway: in what ways has service affected your career plans?

In big ways! After living in Denver, Colorado for a year, I’m back with AchieveMpls as a STEP-UP Achieve Program Associate. I’m working to help Minneapolis youth with barriers to employment find paid summer and school-year internships. Serving as a VISTA with AchieveMpls gave me the opportunity to see the broad landscape of youth development services in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and helped convince me that this is the field I want to be in.

Changing the community landscape: how do you see AmeriCorps service affecting Minnesota’s organizations, volunteerism, and communities?

I think AmeriCorps is hands-down an indispensable and invaluable resource inMinnesota. In youth development alone, there are literally tens of thousands of kids who benefit from reading and math tutoring, various types of mentoring and coaching, and behind the scenes support that simply wouldn’t get done without the incredible service of AmeriCorps members. Our communities are richer because of AmeriCorps, and more capable of getting worthwhile work done. And as each passing class of AmeriCorps members transitions from service into employment or school or other adventures, our entire society benefits from theirpassion and experience.

 

To view the list of all ICC members, including the names of the Communications Committee who bring you your monthly Public Spirit, click on this link. 

That’s All For Now, Folks! Stay Tuned For February’s Mid-Month Update To Hear Full Details Of The Upcoming AmeriCorps Week, And In The Meantime, Stay Groovy!