Experiences That Last a Lifetime

We are thrilled to have Lisa Sullivan, this week’s blog contributor, share her experience as a corps member with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) last year and her decision to dedicate another year of service with City Year Denver this fall! 

By: Lisa Sullivan, Incoming Corps Member (’12-’13)

Lisa and some of her my teammates with the owner of the Lower 9th Ward Village which is a Community Center in the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans, LA

After graduating from college, still debating what I wanted to do with my life, I knew I wanted to make a positive difference and I wanted to travel. As soon as I learned about AmeriCorps NCCC and researched the program, it was exactly what I was looking for. NCCC is a very unique program, consisting of an 11 person team traveling to different non-profit projects in a 15 passenger van, living on $4.50 per day for food, wearing steel-toed boots, and living in tight quarters with the same people you work with all day. It almost sounds like an idea fit for a reality tv show, but that really was my life for 10 months.

However, that description is just barely scratching the surface of what it was really like:

 There are also the life-long friendships that I developed, the confidence and strength I developed, knowing I brought hope just by showing up in my AmeriCorps uniform, and the satisfaction of the work I completed.


Lisa set up an Activity Day for Kids at the Community Center in the Lower 9th Ward where kids could come to a safe environment and take part in a bunch of different activities. Making playdough with one of the girls from the community.

A few months before graduating from AmeriCorps NCCC I was trying to figure out my Life After AmeriCorps plans, but all I really knew was that I wanted to continue to do service work. Long term I would like to either be a teacher or work for a non-profit so when I heard about City Year I knew it would be a great experience to allow me to give back while also exploring my interests in education.

I have always had a strong passion for helping others, but after being in NCCC my passion has grown stronger because I am now aware of a lot more struggles that people go through around the U.S. and I know that by volunteering I am able to make a significant difference.

Service to me is about helping others and providing hope to people in difficult situations, but I believe that AmeriCorps programs aren’t just about service.

Service should always be the top priority, but I believe that these programs can be so helpful to the corps members as well by developing stronger, more confident, and more aware community members.

Lisa’s team painted murals on the black top of an elementary school in Washington, D.C. and stopped to take a picture on the map of the U.S. on the states that they came from.

Lisa’s commitment to national service and community building makes her a huge asset to our organization and we are so lucky to have her join the 2012-13 corps!


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