Phil Jellen

Joining the AmeriCorps Program through Goodwill Industries® of Northern New England has been a step in the right direction for me. The AmeriCorps program gives idealistic people an opportunity to put their visions into practice, and in so doing, gain a more realistic working concept of how to create change.

I came to the conclusion that I needed to stop waiting around for leadership from others and, if I wanted to see any change, I’d have to do it myself with members of the local community. I was given a chance to put my ideas into practice through my position as community programs and volunteer coordinator.

I am responsible for forming and maintaining mutually beneficial volunteer partnerships with individuals and other social organizations, including media outlets, high school student groups, university groups, faith-based communities, youth development camps, senior citizen groups and programs for adults facing challenges. I also manage five off-site community gardens, three located at area schools.

Working with so many diverse interests is challenging, and big change is slow, but this is the way to meaningful development: community involvement. I wonder what it will be like to move away from something I have been so deeply committed to when my service is over.

Fortunately, along with the personal and professional development one attains through work experience, I am supported beyond the program with educational awards. Some university programs will waive tuition completely, giving the AmeriCorps member that much more of an advantage in continuing a lifetime of meaningful service work. I plan to take full advantage of this benefit.

I am inspired by the intelligence, creativity, and commitment of my fellow AmeriCorps service members. The term of service would not be complete without this larger community.