Over the past few weeks a group of nine young adults from all over the country have been putting in work to help repair flood-damaged homes throughout the Fremont area as part of the Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program.
The AmeriCorps NCCC team from the North Central Region campus in Vinton, Iowa, will continue their work in Fremont and surrounding areas through Sept. 5 through service to the Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.
The group is helping prepare work sites, install insulation, put up siding, hang drywall, roof, paint, frame and lay tile at local Habitat for Humanity homes and will also be involved in the construction of two townhomes to house four local families through the local non-profit organization.
The team is spending one day a week supporting Habitat’s HomeStore, where they are helping clean, organize and inventory supplies and donations, including donations given to support flood survivors.
In addition, AmeriCorps NCCC members are supporting Rebuilding Together one day a week assisting with completing safety and accessibility modifications to homes for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities as well as provide repairs to homes impacted by Spring 2019 flooding.
On Tuesday, the team spent time in West Point assisting Rebuilding Together with painting houses and garages, and building a new ramp for a West Point resident.
Through their service, AmeriCorps NCCC members are helping provide affordable housing in Fremont by constructing homes and completing home repairs. The project is expected to give local families an opportunity to become self-reliant and provide a safe and decent home for their children.
“I’m not only building a home, I’m building a place for memories to happen. It’s nice to know that the service I’m doing is making an impact on the Fremont community,” AmeriCorps NCCC team member David Zarta from Westminster, Maryland, said.
Through the 10-month-long Americorps NCCC program, young people ages 18-24 get the opportunity to travel to various areas of the country and assist local sponsors with a variety of projects.
One team member, Kayla Sides of San Diego, California has spent time in Indiana helping the Department of Natural Resources do prescribed burns at a state forest, and spent time in Maine building mountain bike trails and assisting at a research reserve.
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Sides says she joined the Americorps program to get some real-world experience after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology this past spring.
“I didn’t feel like I was ready or that I had experienced enough to know exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “So i jumped into Americorps head first and I’m really happy with my decision so far.”
Sides says that one of the most surprising aspects of her time in Americorps is just how well she has taken to working outdoors and doing manual labor.
“Being from San Diego, I’m a huge city girl so I never thought I would enjoy working outdoors,” she said. “For the past five months I’ve worked in state forests and in the outdoors and now I feel like I have more direction of what I’m going to do with my life afterward.”
For fellow team member Sydney Bell of Oswego, Illinois, the Americorps experience has allowed her get a jump start on paying for college and doing something constructive during her gap year after graduating from high school earlier this year.
“I decided to take a gap year after high school, and I kind of realized that I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “So it’s been a good experience. I’ve got to travel and make new friends. There are so many things I’ve never seen and I feel like this is really preparing me for adulthood.”
Along with the chance to visit lots of new places, and meet new people, upon completion of the 10-month program corps members also receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (currently worth $5,815).
AmeriCorps NCCC members receive a modest living allowance of approximately $4,000 for the 10 months of service, while Team Leaders receive a living allowance of approximately $12,000 for 11 months of service. Both types of members receive limited medical benefits, up to $400 a month for childcare, if necessary, member uniforms, and Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (currently $5,815) upon successful completion of the program. In addition, members do not have to pay for meals and housing.
For more information about AmericCorps and the NCCC program visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps.