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News :: AmeriCorps Class 19 members recite Pledge; leave Vinton for first projects
· 9:17pm March 11th, 2013
For the seventh time since 2008, Americans from dozens of states stood together in the Vinton-Shellsburg High School Auditorium and vowed to “get things done” for their country.
The AmeriCorps NCCC Class 19 members – all 240 of them – are now scattered throughout several states on their first large projects. They arrived last month to begin their training, and officially became AmeriCorps members in the traditional induction ceremony Friday evening.
Just five years ago, Jody Burns, who is now the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Deputy Region Director for Programming, introduced herself and AmeriCorps to the Vinton City Council, and discussed the changes the city would soon see at the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School (IBSSS) campus.
Before Friday’s induction, Burns said the past five years have been full of excitement and changes. There are now approximately 400 members based at the North Central Region campus, where 160 work with the FEMA Corps program.
“Welcome aboard, and get ready for an adventure,” said Fritz Noren, a long-time Vinton resident who is in his second year as a Unit Leader. There are three AmeriCorps units: Maple, Oak and Cedar, each with six or seven teams of 10-12 members each.
Campus Director Dan Milnes recited a list of things the NCCC members have already done since arriving in Vinton. Among other things, they helped clear nature areas, cook and serve pancakes, clean hundreds of skates, and organize 6,184 Legos. The day after the induction, several NCCC members helped with the State Speech Contest, which took place at VSHS and the Middle School.
After praising the members for what they have already accomplished, Milnes went on to describe their impact on the areas they will soon go to serve.
“You will bring communities together,” said Milnes.
The 20 teams have now left Vinton, where they are working with housing projects, YMCA services, conservation groups, wildlife refuges and disaster recovery efforts.
While most of the teams are traveling outside of Iowa, one group will be helping the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo relocate to a new location, while another will travel to northern Buchanan County to do some projects at the Nature Center near Hazleton.
Corps member Katie Corley served as Master of Ceremonies. Andrew Kuka and Julia Sanders also shared their thoughts in opening and closing readings, respectively.
The highlight of the induction is the reciting of the AmeriCorps Pledge:
I will get things done for America- to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done!
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