Friday, October 16, 2015, was a memorable day across America. It was a day of pride and honor as 75,000 men and women raised their right hands and recited a pledge to “get things done for America—to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier”, and officially become the 2015-2016 AmeriCorps Class. In the early afternoon in Hartford, hundreds of young people from various AmeriCorps programs across the state gathered to listen to keynote speaker, Brittney Yancy, a professor at the University of Connecticut, reflect on how a year dedicated to service will forever impact their career paths, relationships, and characters. Among them were the eleven Community HealthCorps members serving with the Community Health Center, Inc (CHC). The team was excited to be with other AmeriCorps organizations for the first time since beginning their service term. Member Michelle Jewett said, “My favorite part of the ceremony was being able to see all of the different AmeriCorps programs in one room and being able to talk to members of those different programs about their experiences!”
The decision to serve with AmeriCorps for ten months comes naturally for some members, but is a significant sacrifice for others. Often, it requires putting one’s career ambitions on hold to be a part of something much larger. For some, however, it is one step closer to achieving a dream job. Member Molly Sherwood says, “I am proud to serve as a Community HealthCorps member because I believe everyone has a right to quality health care, especially comprehensive reproductive health care. My goal is to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and care for medically underserved populations”. For Raymond Uymatiao, he “wanted to give back to the community that’s given so much to me”. Whatever the reason for choosing to serve with HealthCorps, the members were excited to officially unite as an AmeriCorps team to kick start a year dedicated to improving the health of underserved communities. As Dara Robinson puts it, “I want to know that I am helping others to live and live well”. Combined, the team will complete over 18,000 hours of service at CHC locations throughout Connecticut. Keep an eye out for AmeriCorps members at your local CHC site!