Here's a letter we received in late 2005:
Greetings from Virginia.
I currently work with my father in his Marketing and PR firm. We are involved with a philanthropist who is in the process of forming a charitable organization. I have drawn heavily on my experiences in the Regional Service Corps over the past few weeks to help guide them in clarifying their mission and understanding how they can accomplish their goals. I was amazed (and a little surprised) by the wealth of experience I actually had to offer as a result of my time in RSC. Not to brag, but I impressed the heck out of people who are not easily impressed. As I sat in the beautiful board room of a multi-million dollar exec and his entourage of lawyers, economists, a former head of several national non-profit organizations, and the consulate of Nicaragua (specialist and author of the definitive handbook on gangs) I found myself confident and energized to be back in the thick of a tremendous service opportunity.
As we launch this campaign in several major cities across the U.S. we will be partnering with other corporations, charitable organization, and service-oriented groups to mobilize the volunteer force we need to disseminate the materials. We will also be petitioning corporations and individuals for donations to run this endeavor.
Again, thank you for the tremendous opportunities you and RSC afforded me during such formative years of my life. Eric and I truly prize our experiences with the group and have been able to utilize the skills we learned all those years ago in life, work, and personal relationships. I think on some level it helped us seek out and find the children that we ended up adopting too.
Monica (Villanueva) and Eric Holmes, Class of 1997 and 1998
As I review in my mind all the things that I learned and worked to improve throughout my service experience I can sum up its impact on me with one word: confidence.
Heather Beatte, Class of 1998
When you look back, you have such a sense of pride that people who are so different can actually pull off something so important to the kids that are so much at risk. It is an encouragement not just for now, but for tomorrow as well.
Tyler Dillon, Class of 1998
AmeriCorps let me do things that I probably would have never done if I wouldn't have joined. It showed me what a team was and who I really am. It brought me closer to children that needed someone. It helped me become a leader.
Amanda Holguin, Class of 1998
This was my first dose of the real world and I didn't know if I was ready; but, I proved myself wrong. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to. I think I have always known that, but, now I finally believe it.
Patience Lanlois, Class of 1998
The one message that I will take with me this year and beyond is: individuals are not born with greatness. they simply choose it. As a team member, I learned the true meaning of synergy. It means focusing on the team's strengths so that we can accomplish our goals effectively and efficiently. Most of all, it means getting things done. Great leaders don't just sit there and think about what could have happened, they go out there and make it happen.
Kevin Lim, Class of 1998
It's been a productive. eye opening and fulfilling time.
Loan Nguyen, Class of 1998
If someone had told me that I would have the most enriching, stretching, growing, challenging, and changing year of my life, I would have told them that they were out of their minds. I will never look at the world the same again, because part of my living in this world means that I have a responsibility to make it a better place for all who dwell here and for me it is not so much a responsibility as an opportunity to give back what has been so freely given to me.
Bonita Tuel, Class of 1998
I believe I've gained as much confidence over the last six months as I have the rest of my whole life! The high points have to be the satisfaction I've gotten from being validated by doing what is natural for me to do. I was handed the opportunity to serve people in ways that made me feel valuable, needed, and fulfilled.
Amy Schultz, Class of 1998
Having four years of experience working as a teacher's assistant gave me an insight on what was expected. However I consider the AmeriCorps opportunity valuable. A big thanks to this AmeriCorps program for providing and enhancing my learning experience.
Beatriz Sengnaryvong, Class of 1998
I have realized that education is so important when looking for a job, and raising a family. This gave me first hand experience at working with children in a school setting, and give me a feeling for the career of teaching, which I have chosen.
Heather Brooks, Class of 1998
AmeriCorps afforded me an opportunity to experience something unique: The getting together of a group of diverse people that made a commitment to something larger than themselves. We were granted a chance to create an effect on other people's lives.
Chad Terrill, Class of 1997
It's been a constant learning experience and I've learned a lot about interacting with other people. Most importantly, however, I learned a lot about myself.
Brad Rhoads, Class of 1997
AmeriCorps has really helped me to get my foot in the door. I have had the opportunity to work with very wonderful people .... They have taught me a lot about what I can do and how I can get there.
Crystal Bouapha, Class of 1997
I took a semester off from college so I could dedicate more time to this. I do not regret it. I have learned things that cannot be taught in a classroom ... important skills that I can use to finish school and begin a career.
Jennifer Crowe, Class of 1997
I was fresh out of high school and had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do with the rest of my life. My previous job wasn't at all challenging to me and it was basically going nowhere. AmeriCorps is exactly what I needed to sharpen the skills that my prior learning experiences neglected to explore.
Joshua Valles, Class of 1997
I now have the power to make things change.
Elma Garcia, Class of 1996
All of us involved were also rewarded when saw the fruits of our labors. We felt empowered by the ability to make a difference in someone else's life and accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.
Monica Villanueva, Class of 1996 and 1997
I can see a bigger picture now. I think of myself as in control of my life and destiny. I am responsible for not only what I do or don't do, but what I can do.
Chuck Ames, Class of 1996
I have seen that although one person may not change the world, each of us can choose whether or not we will be part of the solution. If all of us do some part, everything gets better. I choose to be an example.
Derrick Braaten, Class of 1996
When I first started the program, I was just in it for the scholarship. But, as time went by, my reasons for serving changed: I wanted to help the people, reach out and better the community, and learn to better myself.
Karrie Lloyd, Class of 1995
AmeriCorps really got me involved in the community. It got me out of the world of burger-flipping. And, because of my parents not being able to afford my college education, it got me in the door to become a teacher.
Donald Holguin II, Class of 1995
My year of service has changed my role as a citizen of the greater community because I don't just give up, but realize that with effort and determination I can change things.
Hannah Durham, Class of 1995
I gained invaluable experience and a sense of direction for my life.
John Reed, Class of 1994
In the development of the HomeCourt Program, we faced many obstacles, but no matter how big they were, we were able to overcome them and learn from our mistakes. With every lesson learned, we were able to improve programming for the children, to give them just a little more. For us, it was the little things that mattered.
Jennifer Foster, Class of 1994
I gained organizational skills, group development skills, project planning and management skills, as well as a fresh perspective on life.
Leonor Rico, Class of 1993