AmeriCorps Week 2023

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s 2023 AmeriCorps Week

By Rosey White, AmeriCorps Member, Black Warrior Riverkeeper

As we close out AmeriCorps Week, I wanted to reflect on my time as an AmeriCorps Member with Black Warrior Riverkeeper. I started my term in September and since then, I have been focused on expanding our cleanup program, spearheaded in 2020 by our former AmeriCorps member Katie Fagan, who is now the outreach coordinator on our staff. Being our first Tuscaloosa-based AmeriCorps member, I am working to expand our connections in Tuscaloosa and organize more cleanups here.

In my term thus far, we have mobilized 350 volunteers to pick up 7,334.22 lbs. We have continued our partnerships with District 1 City Councilor Clinton Woods and District 8 City Councilor Carol Clarke in Birmingham. For me, the opportunity to work side-by-side with our community leaders has been eye-opening. It is true that you learn the most by doing: being a part of these cleanups, I have learned the impact one person can have on their community if they are willing to devote a little bit of time to giving back.

Two of our fifteen cleanups stick out to me because they demonstrate the drive our volunteers have to make a difference: we truly could not do it without them! The first is the MLK Day of Service. We had 93 volunteers come out on a cold Monday morning to pick up trash for a couple of hours. Our volunteers picked up 275 bags of trash for a total of 1,791.5 lbs. It was the first big cleanup that I got to help organize and it was, for lack of a better word, really cool to see volunteers from a number of different groups come together to serve on such a meaningful day.

The second is the UAB Alpha Tau Omega cleanup I organized a few weeks ago. We often partner with fraternities and sororities, but this cleanup in particular sticks out because the day was cold and it started raining as soon as everyone arrived. I figured this would lower the spirits of our 38 volunteers, but they proceeded to pick up 1,086.5 lbs of trash at A.G. Gaston Park with zero complaints. Selfishly speaking, it makes me feel good to see our volunteers determined to serve even when the weather is not ideal. In just the first half of my term, I have seen this same drive over again and that inspires me daily to try to give back in any way I can.

I am grateful to serve as an AmeriCorps Member because it has given me the opportunity to serve my community in a field I am passionate about. There is nothing more rewarding than working with an organization that allows me to positively impact the people and environment around me. And, while I will be sad to see my term end in a few months, I am excited to see the impact of all our future AmeriCorps members.

If you are interested in finding an AmeriCorps opportunity in your field, check out the AmeriCorps Serve tab on the AmeriCorps website. To find open positions, make an account on MyAmeriCorps website and start browsing. If you are currently in college, reach out to your department heads. They are often first to know about local AmeriCorps opportunities. Lastly, do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions about serving with AmeriCorps.

If you are interested in becoming more involved with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, please visit blackwarriorriver.org/volunteer/ or contact Rosey White at [email protected]

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