|9/6/2013 3:04:00 PM|
Chisago City woman finds fulfilling niche working with AmeriCorps
by DENISE MARTIN
By the time you read this Vanessa Schultz will be in Colorado, immersed in a career field she hadn’t even considered in 2010 when she was graduating Chisago Lakes High School. The daughter of Larry and Vicki Schultz, Chisago City, Vanessa earned an associate’s degree in para legal studies, and started down that professional road for about six months, when she felt something was missing. For one thing, she wanted to be around people her own age, she said. She certainly will be now. As a team leader for the National Civilian Community Corps, NCCC, a division of AmeriCorps, she is spending the next several months in charge of 8 to 10 people no older than 24. NCCC trains people who provide invaluable service responding to disasters, assisting elderly Americans, busting trail in a federal parkland or doing nine million other tasks. Only 1,200 young people are selected based on their applications.
Team leaders can be promoted after their year of service. Schultz first was made aware of the program in talking with a family member who had also participated in the AmeriCorps system. There are five NCCC campuses in the U.S.; Vanessa is at Denver, and there are campuses in Sacremento, CA, Perry Point, MD, Vicksburg, MS and Vinton, IA. Vanessa was promoted to team leader after being attached to the regional campus in Denver from October 2012 until she “graduated” this summer, on July 26. She said she spent time in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colordao. She did manual labor on a park hiking trail, but also did things like help older Americans file taxes, and worked at a children’s hospital. She officially earned enough service hours to qualify for her education award through AmeriCorps. Schultz will use the $5,550 to pay off her para legal education, she said. She enjoyed the experience so much, she leaped at the offer to be a team leader, which isn’t extended to just any program participant. “Most of the 1,200 corps members depart (after graduation) and begin traveling to their home of record immediately following the ceremony,” the AmeriCorps initial press release explained.
Shultz doesn’t know yet exactly what her team will be doing over the next several months, or in what part of an eight-state region she’ll be spending time. She knows she’ll be expected to keep track of her team members activities, watch the budget, and she will be responsible for logistics like vehicles and transportation. And, she knows she’ll be making a difference. AmeriCorps NCCC is a fulltime, residential national service program for 18 to 24 year olds. For more details see www.nationalservice.gov.