National Service, Local Impact: Honoring AmeriCorps Members and Volunteers

National Service, Local Impact: Honoring AmeriCorps Members and Volunteers

(BPT) – Each March, AmeriCorps celebrates the work of its members and volunteers through AmeriCorps Week. In 2024, there is even more reason to celebrate as AmeriCorps marks its 30th anniversary.

From rebuilding after disasters, combatting hunger, and supporting veterans and military families to helping students stay on track, assisting seniors with living independently, and advancing economic opportunity, AmeriCorps Week honors the millions who have committed to get things done for America for the past three decades.

Meet five AmeriCorps members and volunteers who are making a difference in their communities.

Dionne Johnson Center for Community Health & Prevention in Rochester, NY

Everyone was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – including Dionne Johnson, who lost a loved one to the virus.

‘I had a family member die from COVID-19, and it really touched me,’ Johnson said. ‘That gave me the passion and lit the fire under me to actually pursue a career in public health.’

Now, Johnson is realizing her dreams of transforming public health in her community as a Public Health AmeriCorps member. In her work, she wants to teach people in Black and brown communities how they can learn to be healthy and advocate for themselves.

Chartell Grissom – Storytime Village in Wichita, Kansas

Lead For America Hometown fellow Chartell Grissom served as an AmeriCorps member with Storytime Village in Wichita, Kan. Her service focused on implementing programming to build a love of reading among children in high-need communities.

Beyond the local impact she made, Grissom remarked that her service year and connections to her AmeriCorps peers were critical in enriching her nationwide perspective, building her leadership skills, and growing her confidence.

‘As we say at Storytime Village, ‘It takes a village,’ and I am so grateful for my village,” noted Grissom.

Joanna Urive Public Defender Agency in Anchorage, Alaska

Joanna Urive is an AmeriCorps alum who served at the Public Defender Agency in Anchorage, Alaska.

Clients of the agency often struggle with access to basic needs, and AmeriCorps members assist them with accessing substance use disorder treatment, housing, and public assistance.

Urive has gone above and beyond to support her clients and received the ‘Innovative Service’ award at the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards in 2023.

Iris Firgens Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc., in Wisconsin

The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc., recruits the community’s tribal elders to serve as AmeriCorps Seniors Senior Companions to their fellow elders, promoting health, well-being, and cultural connections.

Iris Firgens, a Senior Companion from the Menominee Nation, said ‘I joined AmeriCorps Seniors Senior Companion Program because I think it’s very important to help elders who are alone. They need companionship and friendship – someone they know they can count on.’

Firgens was recognized as Volunteer of the Year – Northeast Wisconsin at the Governor’s Service Awards.

Demetrius Bonafide National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago

AmeriCorps members help the National Immigrant Justice Center build capacity, streamline processes, and engage thousands of volunteers so that more people can receive immigration legal services.

AmeriCorps VISTA member Demetrius Bonafide shared, ‘I joined AmeriCorps because public service opportunities provide a unique experience to address poverty within underserved communities and build capacity-based solutions. My most memorable moment during service was witnessing testimonial victories by immigrant clients at celebrations.”

AmeriCorps Week is a time to recognize and thank members and volunteers like these and the more than 200,000 other Americans who serve with AmeriCorps each year and leave their communities better than they found them. For more information about AmeriCorps’s programs and to find ways to get involved, visit


No Responses

Write a response