Made In AmeriCorps: Celebrating AmeriCorps Week 2019

What is AmeriCorps?

It’s AmeriCorps Week and New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) is excited to recognize our five-year-strong AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps, a national service program, brings people together across the country to serve in communities that need it most. AmeriCorps offers a variety of different service opportunities, from serving in schools, in the outdoors, in healthcare facilities, and more. There’s a program for everyone and anyone who has a passion for service!

NESS STEM Education Ambassador (SEA) AmeriCorps Program

NESS’s AmeriCorps team serves in New London, CT providing programming, tutoring, and mentoring to New London Public School (NLPS) students. During the day, members spend time in the classrooms alongside NLPS teachers and staff as support offering tutoring and mentorship. Members design and implement STEM-based ocean adventure programs to provide experiences like sailing, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, and hands-on marine science for students to participate in after-school and during the summer. Our members serve a 1700 hour+ year-long term to fully commit themselves to service and to the New London community.

What AmeriCorps Means to Me

As we celebrate AmeriCorps Week, I reflected on my time as a member and what service means to me. In 2016, I graduated from Wheaton College (MA) with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Animal Behavior. During college, I discovered a passion for sharing my love for animals, the ocean, and environmental stewardship with others. After graduating, I served as an AmeriCorps member with the Providence Children’s Museum. I helped with day to day tasks, as well as “Museum Club”, a STEM-based after-school program at Southside Boys and Girls Club. After that service year, I wanted to continue to serve and chase the dream of becoming an environmental educator.

I joined the NESS AmeriCorps team in 2017 and my experience made a huge impact on where I am today. I taught enrichment classes at Winthrop STEM Elementary and provided classroom support and programming for Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School students. Throughout my year with NESS, I gained skills such as public speaking, classroom management, and teaching, while doing things I never imagined doing such as learning to sail and becoming a lifeguard.

I loved building relationships with the students during the school day and watching them investigate the natural world and learn new skills during program. It reminded me how important experiential learning has been throughout my academic career and how I want to provide even better experiences for future scientists!

How Does Our Program Make an Impact?

I believe the NESS AmeriCorps program has truly impacted the students of New London. The AmeriCorps members are allies, mentors, and support students at all grade levels and at all times. We are members of the New London community. We support events like school sports, Community Dinner, and New London Family Fest. NESS has become a familiar face for students, families, and educators in the community. Not only have we impacted New London, but I believe that our AmeriCorps program has also impacted members.

Many members continue to work for NESS, like our New London education specialist, AmeriCorps manager, and me! Others have become teachers in the New London schools. Many continue to work in outdoor education, STEM fields, and social work. Most of all, the program has led to friendships, memories, and skill-building that could only have been the result of a service year with NESS. While I can only speak for my own experiences, I am sure that other members feel similarly about how the program has shaped their career paths and lives.

Thank you to the AmeriCorps programs impacting communities nation-wide and to NESS for the opportunities you provide for your members. My name is Lilia, I completed a two full-term programs with AmeriCorps, and I am #MadeInAmeriCorps.

Want to Learn More?

Follow us on Instagram at ness_sea and on Facebook! Meet our current members! Interested in joining or know someone who would be? We are now recruiting for our 2019-2020 team, here is more information about the position!

Written by former NESS SEA AmeriCorps member Lilia Trissler who now works for NESS full time.