Friday, April 18, 2014

Finding Inspiration in NCCC

It's Environmental Stewardship month! Alyssa served with Class 18 out of the Southwest Region, and her grandfather served with the original Civilian Conservation Corps, the program NCCC is modeled after. National service members have been helping the environment for decades, and in Alyssa's family, the passion for service has been passed down through generations.

The time was approaching – my undergraduate graduation. Like most 22 year olds in that position, panic was setting in: “What was I thinking, majoring in liberal arts?!”

Alyssa exploring Colorado at the
Red Rocks Amphitheater
My job search started anew with a different focus; gone were the museum jobs I was only partially qualified for. My new focus would be something I always enjoyed, working with the community and others. That search led me to the AmeriCorps webpage, where I spent more time than I’m willing to admit reading all that I could about the available jobs and their focus on community service and involvement.

CCC Monument at Red Rocks
Amphitheater near Denver, CO
It soon became apparent that AmeriCorps NCCC was modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was instituted as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. My grandfather was a part of the CCC in Michigan, and his service did indirectly impact my decision to join NCCC. I had grown up as a history buff, and understood that he played a role in the rebuilding of a nation. The more I read about AmeriCorps NCCC, the more intrigued I became by the job, and its connection to my grandfather and American history as a whole.

Exploring Walnut Canyon, near Flagstaff, Arizona

I applied to NCCC, wanting to make a difference and find a connection to my nation, and to my grandfather as well. I was accepted as part of Class 18 at the Southwest Region campus in Denver, and my service was underway!

Through NCCC, I worked in Joplin, Missouri assisting with disaster relief efforts during the six-month anniversary of the May 2011 tornados. My team also served in Farmington, New Mexico, working with the Boys and Girls Club, and also at the Marycrest Assisted Living Home in Denver, Colorado. Our final adventure was a split project: one month spent in Yuma, Arizona repairing and painting outdoor awnings for the city, and the second month living in the mountains of northern Arizona working for the National Park Service.

I can easily say that being a part of NCCC was one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, experiences of my life thus far. It made me the person I am today.

I owe my team building and handi-work skills, as well as my confidence as an adult, to my service.

Alyssa and her team, Earth 3, in front of a building they painted in Yuma, Arizona

I would be a much different person today, if not for my service and the lessons I learned
through NCCC.
If you are interested in applying to serve with AmeriCorps NCCC or FEMA Corps, please visit, for more information, or send us an email at
Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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