Four years ago, Service Year Alliance acquired AmeriCorps Alums and everything we have shared with policymakers and leaders over the years was confirmed — alums of AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, YouthBuild, and all service year programs are the most passionate, engaged, and thoughtful leaders we know.
In an effort to better support the alum networks across the country, we created the Alumni Chapter Steering Committee (ACSC) — a group of nine diverse service year alums who brought the voices and perspectives of alums and alum chapters to regular conversations, strategy meetings, and brainstorming sessions across our organization. We are forever grateful for the work of this impressive group of alums over the years and for their contributions to our mission and to service year alums across the country. But Service Year Alliance can do more as an organization to grow, connect, and support all alums as they exit service.
As we kick off 2023, we are prioritizing three bodies of work related to AmeriCorps Alums and service year alums.
First, we need better data on who serves, where they serve, and what they do after their service year. Although we are the owners of AmeriCorps Alums, we do not have access to this information, and the entire service year field is lacking critical information that can support their programs, recruitment, and storytelling efforts.
While we continue to work on this challenge with AmeriCorps directly, we are also moving forward on other key actions that will support the field. Over the coming months, Service Year Alliance will be working closely with state service commissions and service year programs to connect their current corps members and recent alums to ServiceYear.org. We have the technology and platform in place that will make it easier for programs to maintain data on their alums — and best recruiters — on ServiceYear.org.
Building off of this intentional effort to collect alum data and contact information, we will begin to communicate with alums in a meaningful, intentional, and supportive way. Leaders across the service year field have resources, job opportunities, and other supports to offer — but right now these resources are shared with only a small number of alums. We can change this. Service Year Alliance is committed to engaging with sector leaders to collect the most relevant and helpful resources and will share this information in quarterly communications with our growing network of alums.
Leadership and Representation
Finally, our Alumni Chapter Steering Committee highlighted the importance of bringing alums’ voices to the forefront of our work. AmeriCorps alums are the best advocates, recruiters, and messengers for service years and we should be lifting up their perspectives and stories as much as possible. To that end, Service Year Alliance is actively recruiting five diverse service year alums to join our Leadership Council and spearhead our newly created Alums Committee. We will engage with these leaders on a regular basis — in our engagement on Capitol Hill, in our recruitment materials, and in our resources. They will inform and advise our work with AmeriCorps and service year alums as well as our recruitment, policy, impact, and thought leadership efforts. We look forward to announcing this new slate of leaders next fall.
Thank you to every AmeriCorps alum, service year program, state service commission, and national service advocate for your continued commitment to making a service year a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Together, we can continue to build and grow our community of AmeriCorps Alums and service year alums and ensure that those who serve are supported and celebrated.