The new 17-18 term Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps team has just started, with AmeriCorps members serving in areas of Conservation, Community and Heritage Development and Cultural Tourism. A few positions are still available - see afha.us/americorps.htm to learn more!
To tell you a little more about the kind of service AmeriCorps members perform in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area we have a story from JoLynn Powers, an AmeriCorps member who has served with Elkins Main Street for nearly two years.
It's Not A Job, It's a Lifestyle
Maybe like me, your life is in transition, you have out grown your current plans and need to reach for something more. You know that your years of education and hard work should be paying off, but the college and great career you planned didn’t work out. Maybe like me, you love to travel, but 5 star hotels don’t impress you. Maybe like me, you want more from a job then just a paycheck and want to see change in a struggling community. Maybe like me, a year of service is what you are really looking for.
I have spent most of my adult life living on other peoples terms… go to college, get married, get a job, and have a family. Not that these ideals are bad, they just seemed to be a little boring for me. I have always been rebellious, adventurous with a love for life. I want a passion filled life, with travel, new people and getting dirty trying new things. I want something more than the 9 to 5 with benefits that colleges promise. Deep inside I want to make a difference in the world.
Appalachian Highlands Trail trash pickup day 2017. Members of AFHA AmeriCorps collected 16 bags of trash for the trail foundation.
So at the complete worst time in my adult life after a surgery, heartbroken, and feeling unqualified to do much with a Fine Arts Degree, I started looking for work. When a writer friend inspired me stop looking for a job and start looking for a lifestyle. How eye opening that moment was for me.
I have been fortunate to serve as an AmeriCorps Member in Elkins, West Virginia for the last 18 months where I work with AFHA (Appalachian Forest Heritage Area). AFHA is a regional initiative to promote heritage tourism, conservation and education based on forest heritage. At my site I work with community volunteers on making public art projects that preserves Appalachian culture and inspire people to take pride in their community. Working side by side with community groups like the River Side School Association, we celebrate ethnic and social diversity, and cultural differences.
River Side School Association Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations 2017
AmeriCorps members are a team banded together over large expanses, doing the work of preserving and protecting the local environment, the history and culture of a people and encouraging travel and education of our unique locations. AmeriCorps is a force for good in places where times are a little harder and people need a helping hand to building on their strengths. I am proud to say that I choose everyday to be a AmeriCorps Service member, because I wanted something more than a job. Now I have a lifestyle making a difference.