Public Spirit, April 2013

Hello AmeriCorps friends! Well, that darned icy April is done and Minnesota is looking beautiful. We are full of Spring spirit, and after reading the following articles and updates, we will be full of Public Spirit as well! In this edition you can look forward to updates on upcoming events, a May service event, the June career fair, andmore. You can also excitedly anticipate pieces on stress management, an emergency medical service training academy, and an inspiring individual who serves with College Possible. C’mon and take a look—replenish your public spirit!

When the weather is good, Minnesota really is one of the most beautiful places to live.

When the weather is good, Minnesota really is one of the most beautiful places to live.

Updates: Upcoming Events

After you attend this training, you may feel that grant writing is like writing a grade school paper (emphasis on  may ).

After you attend this training, you may feel that grant writing is like writing a grade school paper (emphasis on may).

Grant Writing, Part Deux (2)

Wednesday, May 8th 4:00 to 6:00pm

Minnesota Literacy Council

700 Raymond Ave., St. Paul 55114

Learn more about writing a grant proposal. This Part 2presentation will discuss the actual writing of the grant. Didn’t attend Grant Writing, Part 1? You may definitely attend regardless of whether or not you attended Part 1. This training is coming up soon, but there’s still time to sign up! Click here to sign up for this training.  If you want to see Part 1, it’s viewable here. (Be sure you have a significant amount of time to view this video). 

May Day of Service

Saturday, May 18th

On this lovely Saturday in May there will be a day for volunteer service. Places to volunteer include Arc Value Village and Project for Pride and Living. This may be one of the last AmeriCorps-wide service events organized by the current ICC members. So join together with other AmeriCorps friends and sign up to volunteer!

Career Fair

Wednesday, June 12th 1:00pm to 5:00pm

International Institute

1694 Como Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

Social and Networking Committee is putting together a career fair for AmeriCorps members. If you haven’t filled out the two-question survey yet, please click here to get it done. Help SoNet bring you what you want in a career fair!

 AmeriCorps Living Tips:

Stress Management and Self Care

As we sludge towards this hypothetical spring, are you finding yourself low on energy or motivation? Check out these activities and resources meant for managing stress, preventing burnout, and jump-starting your energy!

Identifying and Assessing Stress

  • Utilize this checklist of commonstress manifestations. Many of these stress indicators are obvious, but some might surprise you.
  • Do you ever feel like you actually rely on stress?Identify why you might want tostay stressed.
  • Consider which stress-management activities you aren’t doing regularly, using this Self-Care Assessment.

Okay, So You’re Stressed. Now What?

  • Read this article on strategies for both avoiding and protecting yourself from burnout.
  • Check out this online stress management key. It’s like a road-map to find the best technique for addressing the specific source or type of stress that you’re dealing with.
  • Recognize that you’re not alone in dealing with stress and find humor in the situation.

Stress-Relief Suggestions

This kitten turns stress into a game!

This kitten turns stress into a game!

  • Write yourself notes, make a list, journal, or take time to doodle. Get it out on paper.
  • Give yourself a break and commit to doing something fun. Follow @ICCofMN on Twitterfor AmeriCorps budget-friendly ideas. Each week we highlight fun and cheap activities and deals in the Twin Cities metro area!


  • Try yoga or meditation. Sound too serious? Maybe watching thiskitten yoga will help.

  • Check out this list of mental health and wellness resourcesaround Minnesota. All services provided are either free or determined by an income-based fee scale.
  • Set limits. Prioritize stress-relief and time-management, say “no” to taking on too many projects, and give yourself time to sleep, eat well, exercise, have fun, and relax.
  • Try some positive thinking. Need inspiration? Check out our favorite example

Site Highlight

Creating Jobs and Saving Lives:

The Saint Paul EMS Academy

Most children in the United States are taught to call 911, but not everyone takes time to think about the people behind emergency services. The Saint Paul Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy was created in 2009 to address the lack of diversity among Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) serving the city. According to the National Registry of EMTs, 76% of EMS professionals are Caucasian and 70% are male. No official statistics are kept on the demographics of EMS professionals in the Twin Cities, but leaders in the field estimate that less than two percent of paramedics are non-Caucasian. The EMS Academy addresses this severe lack of diversity by recruiting women and people of diverse ethnicities to more accurately reflect the population of Saint Paul. It also fights poverty by providing low-income individuals with the training and skills necessary for a rewarding career in emergency services.

Considering these efforts to alleviate poverty, it’s not surprising that EMS Academy has a VISTA. Since his service began in July 2012, AmeriCorps VISTA member Casey Keyes’ leadership skills as the Program Coordinator have brought recognition to the EMS Academy. Within his first week of service, Keyes oversaw graduates of the Academy as they opened Freedom House Ambulance Service. Then, in January, Keyes’ grant proposal for the InCommons Local Government Innovation Award earned the Academy a $10,000 grant to “continue innovating.”Most recently, Keyes collaborated with EMS Academy supervisor David Page to write an article on this groundbreaking program, which was published in the March 2013 edition of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

These accomplishments made for an especially happy day on Monday, April 22, when 16 more trainees graduated from the Saint Paul EMS Academy. The graduates represented the seventh class trained by the Academy since its inception in 2009. In total, 111 first responders and EMTs have graduated from the intensive 240-hour program.

Hopefully, you won’t have to call 911 anytime soon, but if you do, your EMT just might be a St. Paul EMS Academy graduate.


Service Reflection

A Humbling Reaffirmation of Her Choice To Serve

Reflection of Mandy Motl, serving with College Possible

For College Possible AmeriCorps member Mandy Motl, there is no such thing as a typical work day. As the Events Member at College Possible, Mandy is responsible for organizing all of the campus visits for the 1,600 high school students that College Possible serves in the Twin Cities area. She works with community partners to coordinate college fairs, plan practice ACT tests, and so much more.

Mandy first heard about College Possible at a career fair at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she studied Community & Nonprofit Leadership. She was drawn to the organization because of the work they do in helping low-income high school students gain admission to and succeed in college. Throughout her years at UW Madison, Mandy volunteered with low-income students as a tutor and mentor, and College Possible was an opportunity to continue what she had been doing. “I also enjoy planning events and there was an events position open, so I thought it would be a perfect fit and a good way to gain experience in the nonprofit field,” she said.

When asked about what the most challenging aspect of her role was, Mandy would tell you it is the unpredictability of never knowing what to expect:“In events, things never seem to go as planned and I’ve really had to learn to think on my feet,” she says. However, as challenging as her role can be, Mandy greatly enjoys working for a cause and making a difference. “I see all these high school students who have it so rough, and are just so positive. They want a better life for themselves. It’s been humbling for me, and has inspired me to do more service work.”

For Mandy, serving at College Possible has helped her see the bigger picture in life, and has reaffirmed her career direction and her decision to major in Community & Nonprofit Leadership. There are many things she will take away from her year of service, but the most important for her is the Idealistic Leader trait, Challenging Cynicism. “There is so much negativity in the world and I feel that’s what every nonprofit is doing: they are challenging cynicism.”

Mandy hopes to stay in the nonprofit world, ideally working on event planning or fundraising, although graduate school could be a possibility as well. “I’ve been given so much responsibility here,” she said, when asked about her term of service. “It has already helped me a hundred times more than a different entry level job I could’ve had. I’ve grown so much professionally and I feel a lot more confident in the work I do. I know I want to find another organization that is similar to College Possible and the environment here.”