Member: Drew LaPlacaPosition: Youth Empowerment ChampionHost Site: Piñon Project Family Resource CenterHometown: Mansfield, CT
What do you do with Team UP AmeriCorps? I am the Youth Empowerment Champion serving at the Piñon Project in Cortez. I expanded all of Piñon Project’s youth programs, including Open Gym, After-School Program, Boys to Men (a weekly circle for supporting teen boys at South West Open School that also does monthly adventures), Sources of Strength (a suicide prevention program), and Extended School Year days. I will also be working on our summer program, which will include everything from doing community service and volunteering with local businesses to water balloon fights and Fortnite tournaments.
What is the best part about your service? A new project that I’m currently working on is creating a library for the youth who attend Piñon Project Programming. I hope to create a culture of reading among Cortez youth, which will nourish their already strong imagination, empathy, and intelligence. I hope my Term of Service is providing a trusted young adult in the lives of local kids. The most rewarding thing so far has been spending time with the kind, hilarious, and inspiring children of Montezuma County.
Why did you join Team UP AmeriCorps? I wanted to do AmeriCorps because of a presentation they had at my high school. It seemed like AmeriCorps was a great way to improve the world and travel on a budget. Team UP AmeriCorps appealed to me specifically because my mother spent a lot of time in Colorado. Actually, my first and only dog was named after the town of Mancos, but we pronounced it Mane-kos; I immediately found it funny that they liked the area so much that they named their dog after it without even knowing how to pronounce the town’s name correctly! What really sealed the deal though was the opportunity to work with kids in elementary school and middle school.
What do you wish others knew about serving with AmeriCorps? AmeriCorps does a great job of providing novel experiences. From the top down, people are looking to support you. I moved across the country as a seventeen year old without a car and the transition was quite easy due to the compassionate and trusting leaders in AmeriCorps and at my Host Site.
What is your plan after your Term of Service? My plan after this year is to join the Pacific Region of AmeriCorps NCCC. I got accepted last week, and look forward to continuing my AmeriCorps experience, this time with more of a focus on learning technical skills and spending more time with people my own age. Team UP AmeriCorps has been one of the best things to ever happen to me, and I hope my next term of service will be too!
If you are interested in helping with similar projects, check out our positions for our upcoming program year, starting in September 2020. You can view all position descriptions here.
If you are interested in learning more about how to become an AmeriCorps member with Team UP AmeriCorps, please contact Team UP AmeriCorps Program Director Al Huckins @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAN YOU HELP? A full-time AC member costs about $32,000 per year.
United Way secures grants and contributions to cover approximately $18,000. We ask host sites to raise/obtain the other $14,000 (which is a bargain for a full-time person with benefits). Donors can contribute to further reduce the cost for a non-profit to obtain this wonderful support. Recommended contribution to offset the AC cost = $500 or more. DONATE