Last month, members from AmeriCorps programs throughout Philadelphia gathered at the Friends Center on Cherry Street to celebrate the start of another service year. We enjoyed snacks, games, and a roster of guest speakers, including two from our very own Serve Philadelphia VISTA program.

“Each and every day, AmeriCorps members serve throughout Philadelphia to strengthen their communities and learn valuable skills that will leave a lasting impact. From serving in our schools, to improving land and waterways, to helping connect residents to vital services, AmeriCorps members are here to provide support and lift up their communities,” said Kaitlyn Spehar, Executive Director of PennServe.

Our VISTA members come from different backgrounds and work in various City departments, but they all bring a strong commitment to the greater good. We asked them: Why do you serve?

“For me, service offers an opportunity to make a positive impact while learning more about the world around me. Relatively fresh out of college, I can apply the lessons I learned at school in a real-world setting, while continuing to develop skills for a long-term career. I also get to hear new perspectives from other cohort members, organization staff, and community partners while exploring a new part of the country.” – Marcus Holguin, Promise Zone VISTA at the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity

“I come from poverty. My mom was a single parent of five kids. I never met my dad. I have seen a lot of things growing up and a lot of times we don’t make it out… but I am, and it’s exciting for me to give out information to people who don’t know Rebuild has programs that will give them access to be a certified vendor and build capacity inside of trades. I am more than proud to serve my community.” – Shakira Thompson, Rebuild Economic Opportunity VISTA at the Managing Director’s Office

Thank you, Marcus and Shakira! We look forward to seeing the impact you make.