If you've volunteered with Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley, chances are you've already crossed paths with one of our dedicated AmeriCorps members. That’s because AmeriCorps service members are woven into so many aspects of our work, whether they’re behind a table saw on the construction site or a keyboard in the office. Members spend close to a year of their lives working to serve communities across the country through organizations like Habitat, and we are lucky to have some remarkable individuals on our team.
Meet Erica, an AmeriCorps member serving as our Resource Development Coordinator. Erica works to engage our community of support and recognize their incredible contributions to our mission, while implementing systems that will keep our work moving forward long after her term of service has ended. Though she’s from Charleston, South Carolina, Erica is passionate about supporting housing opportunity here in the Bay Area. Get to know what drives Erica’s dedication to service!
Why did you choose to serve through AmeriCorps?
I wasn’t really sure what was next for me, but I wanted to learn some new skills and experience something slightly familiar but different from my past experiences. When I saw that Habitat had AmeriCorps positions, it felt right because I have studied the political, social, and economic causes and effects of homelessness and housing insecurity. Working towards a reality in which people can access housing easily – that’s really important to me.
What are you enjoying most about your time as an AmeriCorps member?
I really like that I’m working on projects that will continue to impact the organization beyond my time at Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley, which includes contributing to efforts to ensure that the organization is accessible for and inclusive of all people.
At Habitat, our vision is to create a world where everyone has a decent and safe place to live. What does home mean to you?
Home means a sanctuary from the outside world. I can live out my values of liberation, rest, and joy without question. Home means freedom to be me without expectations (self-imposed nor external). Home is where I can fully express my creativity.
What's something that has surprised you about life as an AmeriCorps member?
Being able to save money! When I first started playing with the idea of doing a year of service through AmeriCorps, I did not think I would be able to start building my savings. But, given Habitat’s mission, I receive a rent stipend, which allows me to put the money I would’ve used to pay for rent into my savings.
What's the biggest thing you're hoping to get out of your service term?
A deeper understanding of how nonprofits work—most of my experience within nonprofits and community organizations is with the people and communities that the organizations are serving, so being an AmeriCorps member that works in the office, I’ve been able to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work.
What do you plan to do after your time serving?
I plan to focus on the therapeutic astrology practice that my sister and I co-created. I’ve been taking a back seat while doing this year of service, but I’m excited to take a more active role again in leading community group programs. I’m also thinking about going back to school for a master’s degree in social work.
We’re so grateful for our AmeriCorps members like Erica, who come into our work from a wide range of experiences – and leave with new experiences, skills, and a record of amazing contributions to Habitat’s mission.
Inspired to serve through AmeriCorps with Habitat for Humanity? A year of your life could mean lifetimes of tangible change in our community. It also means new connections, friendships, knowledge, and perspective that could pave the path forward toward your future goals. To discover more about AmeriCorps and service opportunities, click here.