Make Wise Decisions
Continue to serve
Sometimes not changing course can be the best choice
Continuing to serve can be an attractive option, both to you and the community. If you do choose to give another year of yourself, you have more options than you might think. Service, like the people who make it great, comes in all shapes and sizes. Just remember, if you do decide on a second term of service, you should consider how the experience will benefit you in the long run. Some of the benefits of serving at a different site include:
- Expanding your social and professional network
- Gaining new professional experiences for your résumé
- Potentially qualifying for resident tuition rates in a new state
Whatever your decision, a second term of service will also bring some financial benefits, possibly including:
- A second education award (or stipend for VISTA members)
- Moving expenses (if you decide to serve elsewhere)
- Health insurance and child care benefits (not such a bad thing while you figure out what you'd like to do with the rest of your life)
- Student loan forbearance and interest payments (for qualified student loans)
Other AmeriCorps opportunities (http://www.americorps.gov)
So, is another year of service right for you? If so, there are quite a few options:
You might want to consider AmeriCorps*NCCC, the National Civilian Community Corps, which has its origins in the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. For more information visit NCCC
If you are passionate about addressing poverty issues, VISTA might be the better choice. With VISTA, your focus will be on capacity building in organizations and communities. VISTA has some unique benefits not available to the other types of AmeriCorps service, including:
- The option of a $1,500-$1,800 post-service stipend in place of the $5,350 education award
- Perkins Loan forgiveness, if you choose the $1,500-$1,800 post-service stipend
- Non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs for up to 12 months after you complete your term of service
For more information visit VISTA
Want to take your service to the next level? VISTA Leaders serve other AmeriCorps participants through recruitment, coordination, and mentorship. AmeriCorps*Leaders receive a larger monthly stipend, additional professional development opportunities, and all the benefits of other AmeriCorps programs ($5,350 education award, health insurance, student loan forbearance, etc.). Go here for more information.
Other service opportunities
Idealist.org provides numerous pathways to continue to serve. It offers volunteer and networking opportunities, tools for making your ideas become reality, job listings within the United States and abroad, as well as other materials that can help you make the world a better place. For those wishing to continue serving beyond your national service term, Idealist.org is an excellent place to start.
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.