Is the Americorps Program Really Worth It?

I am about to finish my Americorps VISTA Summer Program in less than two weeks, and I wanted to give my thoughts on whether the Americorps Program is really worth it for others.

If you don’t know much about Americorps it is similar to the Peace Corps. Except everything is located in the United States instead of other countries. It is meant to show acts of service/volunteer work while gaining experience in your desired field of study.

I recently graduated with my bachelor’s in public health and am planning on starting my Master of Public Health in a few weeks. I was looking for a job or internship to do while taking my masters classes and through the summer in-between. While searching and applying and not being very successful, I saw a job post about Americorps.

After looking into it I realized you could do one year or one summer term lengths in so many different locations with various career goals. I was still unsure of what I wanted to do with public health, so I created an account for AmeriCorps. After the lengthy application process, I began to receive emails of opportunities and lots of them. A few weeks in I received an email about a public health opportunity through united way in Pennsylvania.

After looking more into I decided this is what I wanted to do. I had an interview and zoomed with who I would be working with. They helped me figure out housing as I live on the opposite side of Pennsylvania. We had a one-week orientation which honestly wasn’t very informative as to what I was actually going to be doing, but it was fine.

I then began my service working with the Kellyn Foundation which is a nonprofit that focuses on a healthy lifestyle to help reduce chronic diseases as well as working with the cities to help diminish food insecurity in the area. I absolutely love this nonprofit organization and am so grateful I got to work with them.

So basically, I did everything with Kellyn and not too much with United Way, but I was technically employed through United Way through Americorps (confusing right?). United Way had check ins with me to make sure I was doing okay, and everything was working out which was great.

So, let’s talk about pay. Americorps is thought of as volunteer work but being compensated for that work. So, if you’re like me and have to move somewhere and pay for housing you are going to make/save basically no money. If you can live at home, then you will be fine, and it will be like any other job/internship. The pay isn’t amazing, but it is in the right line of work, and you make great connections. There is also an education award at the end of the service, which is about $2000 towards loans or school.

Overall, I would say if you were indecisive about career directions and/or are looking for experience and connections in your line of work, then AmeriCorps is a great place to look. If you are looking for a high paying internship/opportunity or already have your career plan laid out, then AmeriCorps might not be right for you.

Either way, if you are in college and are looking for opportunities you should check it out to see if there is anything of interest to you. (Home | AmeriCorps). Hopefully this helped you out a little bit and always remember to go live a little.

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