This year, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is celebrating 25 years as an AmeriCorps host site! To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at the history of AmeriCorps at Twin Cities Habitat and the incredible impact that members have had over the years.
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs dedicated to strengthening local communities and promoting civic engagement across the United States. Each year, more than 75,000 people commit their time and skills to the AmeriCorps’ mission of getting things done for America.
Members serve at more than 21,000 locations, including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups. They help communities tackle pressing problems such as poverty, racial injustice, and inequity in education. The program mobilizes volunteers for the organizations they serve, while at the same time allowing members to gain professional, educational, and lifelong skills.
At Habitat, most AmeriCorps members serve in the position of a Construction Volunteer Facilitator and work directly with volunteers, homebuyers, and staff to build Habitat homes. Other members serve by painting and repairing homes through our A Brush with Kindness and Age Well at Home programs, or by assisting families, volunteers, and staff at the Habitat office.
Since the 1994-95 inaugural service year, Twin Cities Habitat has hosted more than 500 AmeriCorps members. They have collectively served over 700,000 hours! Almost half of Habitat’s staff has served in AmeriCorps and many of them look back fondly on their term of service.
Rhonda Thorson, a Senior Site Supervisor at Twin Cities Habitat, served as an AmeriCorps member in the position of Construction Assistant from 2000 to 2002. She describes serving in AmeriCorps as an empowering experience that allowed her to not only develop new skills and meet great people, but also one that led her to an 18-year career at Habitat.
Rhonda currently works with AmeriCorps members on site and really appreciates the work that they do. “I don’t think we could have as many volunteers as we do on site without the help of construction AmeriCorps members.”
Engagement Associate Julia Schafer served as a Construction Volunteer Facilitator during the 2018-19 service year. Julia says that her AmeriCorps experience enabled her to grow in her professional and personal life.
“Professionally, it kept me moving me in the non-profit sphere. Personally, most of my current best friends are people who were my AmeriCorps cohort and all of my good friends at work I met on field-site or at the office… they are some of the best people to work with!”
Both Rhonda and Julia believe that Habitat would not be able to do the work that we do without AmeriCorps members. This sentiment is shared by other staff, volunteers, and people all across the Twin Cities Habitat community!
This year, we hosted 25 full-year and eight summer AmeriCorps members. Over their terms, they’ve served more than 37,000 hours on site and at the office. Amidst a global pandemic and civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, this year’s AmeriCorps members persevered, adapted to changes in protocol, and remained fully committed to helping Habitat create and preserve stable, and affordable homeownership options for local families.
As we celebrate 25 years of AmeriCorps at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, we thank current and former AmeriCorps members for their service. We look forward to welcoming a new cohort in September and to all cohorts yet to come.
Thank you to all AmeriCorps members for the work that you do and happy 25 years of AmeriCorps!