After saying goodbye to my new family in Macedonia and receiving my certificate for completing my 27-month term of Peace Corps service in Macedonia, I felt relieved, proud and anxious for what was to come upon my arrival back in America. I had my resume, cover letter, and references all ready to go out and venture into the “real world” when I stumbled upon Mile High Youth Corps and their AmeriCorps Programs.
I am now working as the Administrative Assistant for Outreach and Programs at Mile High Youth Corps. In this position I not only get to meet each and every Corpsmember, but I also have the opportunity to support senior-level staff in a variety of ways. It is an amazing agency to work for and I could not have chosen a better way to transfer back into the “real world” as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
There are many similarities between Peace Corps Service and AmeriCorps Service, but there are many differences also. One of the biggest differences is the time period between the applications and beginning the programs. For example, as an applicant for the Peace Corps, I applied in January and then did not depart for Macedonia until September. When applying for AmeriCorps, I applied on December 8th and began work on January 4th. Staff in both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are great and very supportive. One of the big differences in staff is in the Peace Corps there is a large number that are Host-Country Nationals. In my case, I had Macedonian Program Managers, which was a great experience to see the differences in our work-cultures.
In both AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, you get to work closely with the other people in your group. In the Peace Corps you may live several hours from the closest member of your group, and in AmeriCorps you may be roommates or neighbors. The other Peace Corps Volunteers that served with me in Macedonia became like my brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles and I will remain close to them for life. In my AmeriCorps position the other members are more like my co-workers due to the fact that the position is not 24/7 like the Peace Corps, but more comparable to a “9-5” job. The service mentality is similar in both programs, but it is more severe in the Peace Corps due to the fact that all volunteers uproot themselves by moving away from America with the goal in mind of helping people from another country. Peace Corps Volunteers do not get paid to be in the Peace Corps. They receive a living stipend, which solely supports a lifestyle like those of the Host-Country Nationals.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to make an impact upon hundreds of Macedonian youth in the Peace Corps and now getting the chance to impact youth in my home state of Colorado by helping them get jobs. Serving has always been a part of who I am. From the first time I volunteered at the Salvation Army, I knew that I would devote a large part of my life to helping those in need. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I had the opportunity to volunteer two years of my life to helping out Macedonians and now, as a member of AmeriCorps, I have been given the chance to make an impact in my own community.
Please note: The contents of this blog post are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
MHYC Corpsmember & Returned Peace Corps Volunteer