AUGUSTA — Maine’s newest AmeriCorps members, hailing from the state and across the country, gathered virtually Monday, Nov. 15 to participate in the 27th annual Maine AmeriCorps induction ceremony.
Maine Supreme Court Associate Justice Andrew Mead presided over the ceremony and reading of the AmeriCorps Pledge, which each new member recites to affirm their commitment to serving Maine communities.
“The AmeriCorps program is one of the best and clearest examples of what good people can do to bring forth the best of the spirit of the community for the common good,” shared Justice Mead to the more than 40 AmeriCorps members who were able to attend the afternoon ceremony.
AmeriCorps members serve in Maine to gain valuable skills while supporting community organizations in the areas of early childhood education and development, mentorship, environmental conservation, green energy education, expanding access to outdoor recreation, improving the lives of Maine’s aging population, and community resilience, among others. Member benefits include a living allowance and a post-service education award.
“You are catalysts for positive change,” added Justice Mead. “Your good works are like seeds that take root and grow and spread and produce new growth themselves.”
The ceremony, hosted by Volunteer Maine Commission Chair Jenni Tilton-Flood, also featured remarks by a group of AmeriCorps alumni. Each speaker touched on the positive impact AmeriCorps service has on the self and the community. The alumni group was made up of Margaret Brownlee, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Maine Department of Education; Carolyn Brady, a graduate student at Georgetown University, member of Bowdoin College’s class of 2019, and Miss Maine 2019-20; along with Clara McCool, Regional Broadband Associate with the Greater Portland Council of Governments and the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism Outstanding National Service Volunteer.
The new class of AmeriCorps members also participated in an activity titled “why I serve.” Prior to the event, each new member was asked to write a sentence or statement that sums up their decision to serve Maine communities. The group was then prompted to display their “why I serve” statement for a group photo.
“Why I serve” statement examples:
• “I serve because the future is what we make it together” – Joe Olivia, GPCOG AmeriCorps Resilience Corps member
• “I serve to share what I have learned from others” – Donna Palmer, UMaine Center on Aging Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps member
• “I serve to meet the needs of young people” – Mitchell Del Frate, Trekkers AmeriCorps Aspirations member
• “I serve to be a support system of kindness and compassion to those who need it most” – Sidney Suarez, Kennebec Valley Community Action Plan/Educare Central Maine First 4 AmeriCorps member
• “I serve to build a more equitable and inclusive community and society” – Hailey Castle-Miller, GPCOG AmeriCorps Resilience Corps member
Visit the AmeriCorps section of the Volunteer Maine website to access additional information on AmeriCorps programs in Maine. Access the website at https://volunteermaine.gov/serve-in-maine/americorps.
The ceremony has been archived on the Volunteer Maine YouTube channel for those who could not view it live. Please use the following link to access the replay of the ceremony. Access at https://youtu.be/o4l_xcvEw08.