Skip to content

Coast to Coast – Alums are a Pretty Awesome Bunch

February 6, 2013

espnToday’s guest post comes from Trevor Brightman of our Connecticut Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums.

“We’re your friends from across the country. Like all AC Alums…we’re a pretty awesome bunch.”

As someone who travels as often and as far as I possibly can, one of my favorite things about being an AmeriCorps Alum is utilizing the national network of AmeriFriends across the country.  Whether it’s meeting up for drinks in Philadelphia, touring a college campus in Eugene, Oregon or volunteering for a weekend in New Orleans – being an AmeriCorps*NCCC Alum means that wherever I find myself, I’m never too far from an old friend.  But as I found out this month, I’m also never too far from new friends, as well.

I live in Connecticut, but in January I was visiting my girlfriend and interviewing for a few jobs in Los Angeles. And while she had to work all day, I wanted to volunteer on Martin Luther King, Jr Day.  After all, we all know it’s a day on not a day off.  After visiting the Facebook page of the AmeriCorps Alums Los Angeles Chapter I was pleased to see a volunteer opportunity at a Middle School.

The point of contact for the event was the chapter VP Pedro Barrientos, and after I RSVPed he sent me an email with the information for the event including what to wear, where to parking, etc. He was very welcoming and glad I was able to join for the day.  He summed it up with a sentence that really says it all –

“We’re your friends from across the country. Like all AC Alums…we’re a pretty awesome bunch.”

When I arrived on the day of the event Pedro was right there at the entrance to greet me with a smile and welcoming words.  He made sure to introduce me to several other members including Erika who is on the board and Greg the chapter president. It was a beautiful sunny California day and the yard of the school was filled with over a thousand volunteers from various organizations including AmeriCorps Alums, employees from Macy’s, Target and the large healthcare organization Kaiser Permanente.


LA Alums on MLK Day.

The project’s purpose was to revitalize the campus the Title I school as part of MLK Day’s mission of empowering individuals, strengthening communities, bridging barriers and creating solutions to social problems to get closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.

Volunteers helped the school community transform and revitalize the grounds to become the new Washington Irving Advanced Math, Music and Engineering Magnet. Volunteers also completed projects preparing the new STEM lab, painting math and science murals in the hallways, organized new curriculum materials and painting the new name across the large main entrance wall.

Looking around I saw people painting, doing landscaping or working on other improvement projects.  There was a DJ playing music over huge speakers, snacks and drinks, various teachers and administrators working alongside us, including the school’s principal.  Looking around I also saw lots of AmeriCorps t-shirts and hoodies as I grabbed a brush started to paint the front wall bright blue.

Seeing the AmeriCorps logo is the perfect ice-breaker. “Where did you do your service?” began several long conversations with people from various places, experiences and backgrounds.  I was in an unfamiliar place with a group of strangers and yet I felt completely comfortable, welcomed and part of the team.

Several of us chatted over lunch later in the school cafeteria about our involvement in regional alumni chapters, our lives and our future plans.  Overall it was a great day and I look forward to working with the chapter again.  It goes to show the power of shared past experiences and the strength of the national alumni network.  Without both I wouldn’t have been able to meet these new friends and spend MLK day getting things done.

Connect with a local AmeriCorps Alums Chapter next time you travel!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2013 8:23 pm

    Dear Trevor, Just read Cathy’s fb sendoff to you and then had to read your blog. (I am your grandmother Helen Brightman’s cousin and we migrated to Portland OR in 1971.) I was not familiar
    with AmeriCorps, so had to google that too. What a great organization and also circle of friends
    wherever you go. I want to pass this info on to our son and his family who live in Paris with our
    four grandkids, two of whom have already traveled to Burkina Faso and Gabon on humanitarian
    aid trips. It sounds as though the world is your oyster, and I am so happy to have had this chance
    to get acquainted ever so slightly. If you are ever in Portland, we’d love to meet you. And if you need
    a contact in Paris, we have one for you:-) Best wishes in all you do. Marty (Mosemann) Herr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: