We’re very excited to have a guest writer in Lauren Martins, as she talks about her time with AmeriCorps so far:

AmeriCorps NCCC was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was senior year in high school and I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do after, until my friend told me about this program called Americorps NCCC. I became interested in it and did more research until I decided this is what I want to do for the next year. I applied and got accepted, and was so excited about the upcoming future. I left my small town of Ludlow, Massachusetts on October 10th to begin my new journey.

I was so excited and eager to learn more about what kind of work I will be doing and who I will spend the next ten months with. When I first got there, I was on the team Blue 7. They were an amazing team and I had a great time with them for the first week of training. But, I eventually got switched the next week due to the uneven number of corps member in each team, and I got switched to Blue 1. I was upset to leave my old team, but Blue 1 welcomed me with open arms and are the most admirable and inspiring people I’ve ever met and I’m truly lucky to be put with such an amazing team and click with them instantly.

Our first project was in Green River, Utah and we were sent to help out a small town with a population of 950, and we helped at the local community center, garden, and thrift store, my feelings about the project were mixed because I have never been in that small of a town before in the middle of nowhere. But, due to a great team who are hard workers and love to travel, we were able to pull off an amazing six weeks at Green River by helping out with an after school program, renovating and organizing the community center and the thrift store, as well as update the garden and include different playscapes for kids in the town. We also spent weekends exploring different national parks including Zion and the Arches, and traveling to Colorado, Arizona, and different canyons around Utah on our free days. It was such a great first project I’ll never forget.

Americorps NCCC has taught me how to work in a team and get things done for communities in need, further my love for traveling and exploring new places, and most importantly showed me what amazing people you can meet by just putting yourself out there and bonding with people you never thought you would talk to. This program has put me outside my comfort zone and forced me to try new things, which I am very grateful for. It has taught me the importance of helping out communities in need. Like right now, as me and my team are in Middletown, California building houses for people who lost their homes in the Valley fire of 2015 and giving them their own place again, nearly four years later. Americorps NCCC has been the most rewarding and best experience of my life so far and I cannot wait to see what the next seven months in the program hold.