American Red Cross Seeking AmeriCorps Team Members

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is currently seeking individuals to serve as full-time AmeriCorps team members.  There are currently 21 full-time positions available at offices across the state of Illinois. Anyone looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the community while gaining new skills and experiences is encouraged to apply.

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Safe Families AmeriCorps member Jessica Chencinski says joining AmeriCorps was a great opportunity for professional development as well as her own personal growth. People who have an interest in public health and helping others will thrive here gaining experience serving local communities.

“There is no greater feeling than knowing you can help someone even in the slightest of ways. My service with Safe Families allows me to work with the whole population including children and the elderly,” Chencinski said. AmeriCorps members say the work is rewarding because they have daily interaction with community members regarding safety and emergency preparedness while also serving people of all ages through teaching lifesaving skills.

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Safe Families AmeriCorps members will serve to organize community members across Illinois in making their cities, schools, organizations and households more resilient to emergencies. The member’s primary responsibility will be to present free American Red Cross courses on emergency preparedness, disaster-specific safety, and basic first aid and CPR to both youth and adults in Illinois’ most vulnerable and under-served communities. Safe Families members will also work with local disaster clients to deliver Red Cross services to impacted individuals.

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Illinois’ Disaster Corps

Disaster Corps members will support impacted communities with spontaneous volunteer management and donation coordination in the event of a local or state disaster. Members will work hand-in-hand with local and state government entities, non-profit organizations, and other community organizations to provide timely and meaningful service opportunities to those seeking to assist their own communities after a disaster strikes. Though these positions will be based out the Chicago American Red Cross office, members will have the opportunity to train for and respond to disasters across the state of Illinois. Members will also be involved in local or statewide disaster response activities, community preparedness education, and may be deployed for up to two weeks at a time in the case of a disaster.

There are currently up to 6 full-time positions available, served as 1700 hours in an 11-month period.

BENEFITS:

  • Invaluable experience from a nationally and internationally-respected organization for school, a future job or new career
  • Educational grant of $5920 at completion of service (or max yearly Pell grant, subject to change)
  • Living stipend paid bi-weekly ($15,500 total over 11 months)
  • Basic Health Insurance for AmeriCorps member
  • Subsidized childcare
  • Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Successfully serve in the position, serve 35-40 hours a week and meet the 1700 minimum requirement for a full term of service
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Must be 18 years of age at the start date of service
  • Have a valid Driver’s License & clean driving record
  • Pass required criminal background checks
  • Members should also be comfortable working with a wide variety of people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and respect the American Red Cross fundamental principles.

TO APPLY: Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please apply at https://rdcrss.org/2PMar9y

National Volunteer Week—AmeriCorps member Brianna Niemi

 

Ameri Corps Member- National Volunteer Week

Brianna Niemi: Ameri Corps Member- National Volunteer Week

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”–Martin Luther King Jr.

The Red Cross is more than a humanitarian organization; it’s a humanitarian organization supported by YOU! And many of you who contribute their time and energies to help us meet our vision of preparing communities for unanticipated disasters, ensuring access to lifesaving blood, supporting all members of our armed services and so much more. Hence, we fully support any form of event which acknowledges and celebrates all volunteers, including the National Volunteer Week from April 21- April 27 this year.

This week celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things to improve communities across the world. Being an organization which carries out its services majorly through the work of selfless volunteers, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago could not be more excited about this recognition. To highlight the work our strong group of volunteers do, we interviewed Brianna Niemi, one of our devoted AmeriCorps. The AmeriCorps program helps the Red Cross achieve its mission by paying special attention to the neighborhoods and communities that need services the most, yet are least likely to be able to afford them.

Originally from Wisconsin with a Bachelors degree and certification in Social Work, Brianna always wanted to be part of a strong volunteer program like the PeaceCorps and decided to apply for the AmeriCorps program at the Chicago Red Cross. One of her favorite memories was from when she was deployed and was amazed to see the work done by volunteers who came from around the nation. But she was most moved by the family who she helped a day before Thanksgiving whose house was devastated by a terrible fire. That moment, Brianna realized the full impact of the fire felt by the family who were preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday before the fatal incident. But the family was very grateful and thankful of the help provided by the Red Cross and Brianna felt very proud of the work she is able to do along with the rest of the volunteers.

Brianna hopes to continue her passion to help people by enriching her experience with a Master degree in Social Work. To future volunteers, Brianna signs off by saying that the Red Cross is a remarkable organization to work for and contribute to. She is always amazed to see the enthusiasm of the Red Cross volunteers who are also sometimes retirees who come out and help distressed family whose homes have been destroyed. She also cites an example of a student volunteer who also has a full time job, but helps out the Red Cross by responding to fires in the middle of the night! These are the volunteers who carry forward the Red Cross services and touch the lives of countless people.

The Chicago Red Cross salutes these volunteers during the National Volunteer Week and beyond. We are grateful for all that they do. If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life by volunteering, then please visit http://rdcrss.org/14HNAC2 or email chicagovr@redcross.org or call (312) 729-6222.
–Written by Amisha Sud

My Year of AmeriCorps Service

The past year has been amazing! When I walked through the doors at Headquarters on September 1st, 2009, I had no idea what was in store for me during my term of AmeriCorps service. I have come out of it a changed and stronger person. Through long hours, exhausting work and excellent supervision, I have grown into the person I am now.

It began with my supervisor, Jackie Dempsey, who supported, guided, listened and encouraged me and my AmeriCorps co-workers to accomplish what many people thought impossible. We taught American Red Cross safety classes in under-resourced areas without many of the materials that regular instructors had and with an almost non-existent budget. In addition, we performed extremely well while being paid below minimum wage.

After a whirlwind of training in the first three weeks of September, 2009, I was now an instructor of a variety of programs. I was now responsible for conducting outreach to set up classes, teaching the classes and completing all necessary documentation. This was difficult at times because people were less interested in taking a CPR class than they were interested in paying their bills. Even though I taught all classes for free, many people could not attend classes or simply did not show up. This made for a very humbling year. I was still able to interest plenty of people and taught many full classes.

Another aspect of the position was service projects. Individually and as a group, service projects were taken to new levels. A transitional living home named Grace House in Decatur, Illinois got renovated, children learned about all of our kid safety programs, Anixter Center had their courtyard revived with planters and plants, winter coats were donated, canned food was donated, comfort kits were made and many other lives were impacted.

In the end, close to 7,000 people were certified by AmeriCorps members in American Red Cross classes and over 35,000 people were taught in non-certification classes. I know I have changed tremendously and so have my co-workers. This has been an amazing experience and I am so glad that I was a part of it. Thank you AmeriCorps and the American Red Cross!

Written by Jason Schultz