Between the COVID pandemic’s health and economic challenges and a widespread movement for racial justice, we are at a pivotal moment in history. This is a moment not to shy away from change but to build it. That is exactly what this year’s Habitat AmeriCorps members are doing – seizing this moment to build change through Habitat for Humanity.
AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides individuals the opportunity to take action and be part of the solution for many of our country’s most challenging issues. At Habitat, AmeriCorps members help us build homes, serve more people, and engage with our community. Whether they are leading volunteers on site or helping optimize programs and services in the office (or from their home offices, now!), AmeriCorps members make our work possible.
 
Olivia Clarkin

RETURNING MEMBER!
Meet Olivia Clarkin
, Construction Crew Leader

  • Where are you from? Saint Paul, MN
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? I heard about the position while volunteering for Twin Cities Habitat. There was an AmeriCorps member there who told me about the program.
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? The Habitat EBSV affiliate was the only affiliate at the time building tiny houses for house-less community members. I'm a huge proponent of tiny houses and I thought it was so cool Habitat and the city of San Jose were trying bold and creative solutions to address the housing crisis in the Bay. I stayed for a second term because of the amazing staff and regular volunteers.
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I'm looking forward to further building relationships in this community.
  • What does home mean to you? Home is a constant in the midst of uncertainty.
 Meet Aaron Stromberg, Construction Crew Leader
  • Where are you from? Louisville, KY
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? I found it while searching around for AmeriCorps  positions in the Bay Area.
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? To have fun and help people! I was unhappy in my previous line of work. I spent all day at a computer screen and living in a world with really abstract problems. Boooo! This position is the happy opposite of all that.
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I’m really excited to learn construction and leadership skills. Also getting dirty and working outside.
  • What does home mean to you? Safety and comfort
Aaron Stromberg
Laura Goy RETURNING MEMBER!
Meet Laura Goy, Construction Crew Leader
  • What made you decide to serve as an AmeriCorps with Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley? I moved up to the Bay Area four years ago for school and was surprised to see so many of my fellow Berkeley residents living on the streets. Over time, I've gotten to know some of my neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and have learned about California's affordable housing shortage in my classes. I've been looking for a way to help out, so I'm really excited for this position with Habitat.
  • What are you hoping to get out of your service year? I'm hoping to learn new skills that are out of my comfort zone and to meet cool people.
  •  What does home mean to you? Home is a place where your basic needs are met and where you are safe from emotional and physical harm. Home is where you are surrounded by loved ones who support you.

RETURNING MEMBER!
Adriana Echols
, Volunteer Coordinator

  • Where are you from? Detroit, Michigan
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? In college I did a collegiate challenge with a Habitat affiliate in Colorado and was introduced to the AmeriCorps program by a crew leader.
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? My future career goals aligned with Habitat’s mission to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I am looking forward to creating new relationships and learning more about affordable housing.
  • What does home mean to you? Home is a safe place where memories are born, wall colors are changed, and family photos can be nailed to the wall.

AmeriCorps - Adriana

James Echols

Meet James Echols, Construction Crew Leader
  • Where are you from? Detroit, Michigan
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? I heard about this position from a family member who is also Habitat AmeriCorps member (see above!).
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? I want to find new ways I can better my community and get a feel for how I can make housing better in my community.
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? Experience in construction.
  • What does home mean to you? Home means a place where I can be safe.
Meet Alyssa Gresh, Construction Crew Leader
  • Where are you from? Pittsburgh PA
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? I did a term of service last year with AmeriCorps NCCC and worked with affiliates in Wyoming and Colorado, and heard about the position through a member I met. They really enjoyed their service term and that made me really want to look into it!
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? I really enjoyed when I worked alongside them last year, and wanted to further my knowledge in the construction realm. I choose EBSV specifically because I have family in the Bay Area and who doesn’t love CA?!
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I’m looking forward to making connections with the people I serve alongside with, as well as gaining more construction skills that I can use later in life.
  • What does home mean to you? Home- a place where you feel safe and secure. Somewhere where you can thrive and set yourself up for the rest of your life.
Alyssa Gresh
David Taylor

RETURNING MEMBER!
Meet David Taylor,
Construction Crew Leader

  • What made you decide to serve as an AmeriCorps with Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley? At this point in my life, I’m a little unsure of where I want to go and what I want to do, so I figured that doing a little good in the world and learning an interesting trade is about as good an option as any.
  • What are you hoping to get out of your service year? New connections and new skills!
  • What does home mean to you? It’s a place where anyone who walks in or out of the door can be considered family. Where Bill Wither’s 1972 hit ‘Lean On Me’ is taken to heart. A home is more than the walls, windows, and doors that define it - the people within and around it are what really make a home a home.

Meet Eli Goldstein, Construction Crew Leader

  • Where are you from? Los Angeles, CA
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? A family member who had volunteered with Habitat suggested I look into serving, so I did research and found this position online and thought it’d be a great experience.
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat? I believe strongly in Habitat’s message and thought that I could learn a lot.
  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I’m looking forward to being able to work on something that I know is going to change someone else’s life in a positive way.
  • What does home mean to you?  Home to me is somewhere you feel most comfortable and where you can feel safe to chill.
Eli Goldstein
Miranda - AmeriCorps-jpg-1

RETURNING MEMBER!
Meet Miranda Jetter, Volunteer Coordinator

  • What made you decide to serve as an AmeriCorps with Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley? I wanted to serve with Habitat to have the opportunity to directly contribute to the communities I’ve grown up in and that shaped me as a person. I was especially excited to work on the housing crisis which I grew up alongside. I’ve seen firsthand how it has drastically changed my home over the years.
  • What are you hoping to get out of your service year? During my service year, I’m hoping to learn more about how housing gets built in a highly impacted region and how to help manage a large volunteer population involving many different stakeholders. I’m also excited to get the chance to participate in my first ever Habitat build!
  • What does home mean to you? Home means stability and peace. A place to find contentment and solitude after time spent in the outside world. Not only is it a physical place to rest your head but also a feeling of certainty and comfort.

Meet Emma Alaimo, Construction Crew Leader

  • Where are you from? Bay Area Coastside
  • How did you hear about the AmeriCorps position with Habitat? I heard about the AmeriCorps position at Habitat 7 years ago when I was in high school. We were learning about the housing crisis, and different ways it was being addressed, so one day we volunteered with Habitat. I really liked it and asked one of the crew leads how they got their position and they said through AmeriCorps.
  • Why did you choose to become an AmeriCorps service member with Habitat?

    I've been doing handy person work, and natural building on and off for the past 4 years, and wanted to get a better foundation in conventional carpentry skills. 

    Plus the Bay is home to me and I wanted to learn more about how I can serve my community and different models in addressing the housing crisis. In my life, I have seen the community step in to help my family when we really needed it, specifically around home repairs. This work is really close to my heart, and I feel grateful I can pay this type of support forward.

  • What are you looking forward to most during your time with Habitat? I am looking forward to learning how to better lead volunteers and be in an educator role. It also excites me to be able to learn how to renovate homes, especially homes that will go to families for an affordable price. I've already gotten to know my co-workers and I can say that everyday I am excited to come to work and be with them.
  • What does home mean to you? Home is where I feel safe, grounded, and supported.
Emma Alaimo

Eager to meet our AmeriCorps in person (from six feet away, of course!)? Sign up for a socially distant volunteer experience with Habitat for Humanity!

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER TODAY!

 

 

About the Author

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley

As an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley believes in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We create opportunities for families to transform their lives, gaining the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better future. Working together as a community, we build homes with affordable mortgages, repair and renovate existing homes, counsel first-time homebuyers, and revitalize neighborhoods in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties. For more information, please call 866.450.4432.

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