Our AmeriCorps Members “Get Things Done”

This week the Volunteer Center has joined in the nationwide celebration of AmeriCorps Week to spotlight the vital work done by AmeriCorps members in communities across the Country. Started in 1994, more than 75,000 Americans participate in AmeriCorps each year and these individuals have contributed over 1 billion hours of service.

Here at the Volunteer Center we are celebrating our eleventh year hosting AmeriCorps members through the Volunteer Infrastructure Project (VIP). Members like myself serve 1700 hours to recruit and train volunteers at community non-profits.

Over the past 11 years, our VIP fellows have engaged 15,087 volunteers to support community programs, amounting to 207,713 in donated hours over $5 million dollars in donated labor.

Every AmeriCorps member takes the following pledge at the beginning of their service term:

I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.

I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.

Faced with apathy, I will take action.

Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity, I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

This year, I am proud to lead a team of 7 members who uphold this pledge to serve everyday in Santa Cruz County.

Erin serves at Ecology Action where she empowers volunteers to build a more sustainable future for all. Her staff team works closely with individuals and businesses to make simple behavioral changes and to reduce carbon emissions. Her efforts make each of us and generations to come, safer.

Serving at Costanoa Commons, Kyle offers horticulture and farm skills training, internships to people with developmental disabilities, environmental and gardening education, and micro-enterprise opportunities on a roughly four-acre urban organic farm. Growing food and friendship, we are proud to say that Kyle makes Santa Cruz County residents healthier.

At the Young Writers Program, Angela and her volunteers grow students’ passion for writing. Angela values collaboration that results in stronger communities and louder voices. By training volunteers and tutoring students, Angela makes our community smarter.

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County’s mission is to transform our community and ourselves through volunteerism, empowering everyone to be the difference. Melissa works to uphold this every day through her work in our volunteer mobilization department. Through the relationships she has developed with the business and nonprofit communities and her prowess at recruiting volunteers, Melissa strengthens our communities.

Angelica serves at UCSC’s arboretum which hosts the biggest collection of Mediterranean plants in all of North America and endeavors to connect people with these plants. The arboretum is a beautiful escape in Santa Cruz that is underutilized by our community. However, Angela’s passion for the Arboretum, her engagement of volunteers, and the work she puts in to their events, sparks enthusiasm and curiosity. Angelica diminishes apathy and encourages others to take action.

At Live Oak Community Resources, Annie and the rest of the staff create a warm, friendly, safe place for the Live Oak community to access resources, build stability, and gain hope for the future. Annie serves clients seeking counseling, foster family support, and case management. As such, she plays a crucial role in helping those facing conflict, to seek common ground.

Tomorrow, March 12 our AmeriCorps team will proudly receive recognition at the County Board of Supervisors meeting.  Supervisors will issue a proclamation on our behalf honoring the work that AmeriCorps members do in Santa Cruz County. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 9 AM. We invite you to join us in celebration.

Learn more about  AmeriCorps VIP in Santa Cruz

Volunteer to support an AmeriCorps VIP project – view volunteer opportunities and register


Originally from Santa Cruz, Elana Sanford received her BS in Biology and Economics from Tufts University in Boston. As an undergrad, she was involved improving access to college for first-generation college students. In the future she hopes to attend medical school and is passionate about health and early childhood education. In the meantime she is excited to be the Lead AmeriCorps VIP Fellow, working with the wide variety of organizations that the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County supports.

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