During the term of any successful corps member, the question comes up: should I sign on for another go-round?
Most programs allow you to serve a second (and even a third, or seventh) term of service. Your options may include:
- Signing on with your same service corps, to serve again at your same organization, school or agency. For example, Kristine served with Clara Barton AmeriCorps*VISTA Corps at The Wallace Medical Concern in Portland for two years in a row.
- Signing on with your same service corps but serving at a new organization, or even in a new city or country. For example, Doug’s first term of service with Notre Dame AmeriCorps (NDA) was at Heberle Elementary School in Cincinnati. His second term with NDA was at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Redwood City, CA.
- Joining a completely different service corps (while serving in your same city, or a new city; serving in your same country of service, or a new country). For example, Meg served in City Year Rhode Island and then served in Peace Corps China.
Reasons to consider a second term with your service corps
You shouldn’t commit to second term of service lightly, for example, to avoid undergoing a job search. That said, corps members who serve a second term do offer solid justifications for their decision. Here are some:
- Ditto. You sign on for a second term for all the reasons you signed on for the first one.
- Ties to your community: You’ve built meaningful relationships in your community this year and you want to continue investing in them; you aren’t ready to let go yet.
- Responsibility for you project. You want to build on, or finish, what you’ve started. If you started a new program during your first year, you may want to spend more time building it.
- Doing a second term gives you a chance to apply all the lessons you learned during your first term.
- Good, clean fun. You may have had so much fun in your first term that you want to do it all again.
- Leadership. Your second term may give you a chance to serve as a leader among your fellow corps members.
- First-hand experience. You participated in one service corps, learned a lot about the way things really work, and about yourself, and now you want to want to try another service corps.
If you are considering committing to another term, find out the specific rules of eligibility from your program director.
Note that you can only earn two Education Awards from AmeriCorps (no matter the amount of either award), so that if you have already participated in a summer program and earned one Education Award of $1000, and then served in a year-long program where you earned a second Education Award of $4,725, you can not earn any more Education Awards.
Have you committed to a second (or third) term of service? What reasons have you had?
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I am committing to a second term of service. My first term is up this week. I will then extend my service to the end of June, and when that is up, sign on to a second term.
I came aboard after the previous VISTA terminated service early, and after I terminated service early from another site. Due to CNCS rules, if I were to leave my site after my year is up (now), the site would not be able to place another VISTA in my position until June (when the first VISTA would have finished their first term).
I chose to do a second term of service mostly because I just started at this site in November. So at the end of my 1 year VISTA service, I have only been at this site for 5 months in April and 7 months in June (after my extension).
Also, the forbearance (way better than a deference!), free prescriptions, $5 medical visit co-pays, Section 8 voucher, education award, networking, and resume-building leadership experience are nice perks, too!