Celebrating Service: Ashira’s Work as an AmeriCorps Member

Celebrating Service: Ashira’s Work as an AmeriCorps Member

Ashira originally wanted to join the Peace Corps, but then discovered the AmeriCorps program. Thinking it might be a good fit, she applied for Habitat for Humanity programs in Milwaukee and in Georgia. After hearing back from the Milwaukee Habitat program, she joined the Family Services team.

AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects over 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet community needs. Ashira is one of two AmeriCorps members currently serving at Milwaukee Habitat. Read more here about our other AmeriCorps member, Kristiana.

Service has always been a part of Ashira’s life. It’s something she doesn’t need to think about.

“Both my parents have nonprofits,” Ashira said. “I was their first employee. [Service work] is always something I have been involved in.” 

Her role at Milwaukee Habitat includes receiving the applications after Kristiana initially reviews them and working with families to complete their application.  

Ashira has also helped plan events for Habitat homebuyers and their families. In February she helped plan a Valentine’s Day event for Milwaukee Habitat homeowners and their families. The event included a photo backdrop, snacks, crafts, and more.

“It made me so happy,” Ashira said. “Whenever I have events, people say ‘thank you. We never get to do stuff like this’.”

Since starting her AmeriCorps term, Ashira has worked hard to fit this role in her life. The program is a year-long volunteer commitment and members receive a living allowance that is determined by the national AmeriCorps organization. Because of this, Ashira has had to reprioritize aspects of her life outside of work.

“It has been very humbling,” Ashira said. “I’m doing all these great things and it feels amazing. But it has made me restructure so much in my life because I am an AmeriCorps member. I don’t have the ability to do as much as I was [because of the low pay]. I have to tone everything back. But maybe I needed this to be calmer, do less, and be impactful to someone else.” 

Although there was a mindset and life shift for Ashira, she is grateful for the experience and being able to positively affect other people’s lives. She would encourage others to consider becoming an AmeriCorps member.

“Don’t think you are limited to what you can do,” Ashira said. “[This role] is amazing. We are allowed to do so many things: ideas we have, events we want to attend and host. Yes, there’s a financial component, but they make up for it in other ways. Don’t let the financial situation hold you back. It is a great experience. Don’t think you’re limited to anything. You’re not.”

At the end of the day, service work and giving back to your community is a central part of Ashira’s life and identity. She knows the importance of the work and sees it firsthand. 

“You don’t realize how much people lack until you put yourself in a position to give back,” Ashira said. “It might be something small for you, but to them, it’s big. You’d be surprised how many phone calls I get from people who are just grateful to be able to apply [to the Habitat program]. It’s a personal thing. I don’t know any negative reasons for being a helping hand to someone.” 

In just a few short months, Ashira has brought joy and laughter to the Habitat community and helped numerous families apply for Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program. 

Learn more about the AmeriCorps program and apply here.

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