Northwest Service Academy Offers Shining Examples of What AmeriCorps Gets Done

Achievements of some outstanding local AmeriCorps members and their projects.

Today, AmeriCorps members from the Northwest Service Academy (NWSA) graduate from their term of AmeriCorps service — I want to congratulate them and to share what I learned about the work of some members at their recent Achievements Symposium.

A few weeks ago I listened to presentations by several NWSA members about their work. I was stunned not only by the calibre of experience the members brought with them into their service, but also the degree to which they used their term of service to develop innovative new programs, that will have a lasting impact in their communities.

I want to highlight two of the projects I heard about here:

Kids sorting trash in the cafeteria.Save Organic Scraps • Gregg Hayward

Gregg Hayward has been the School Recycling Coordinator for Clark County Solid Waste. Clark County is in southern Washington state, just north of Portland. Gregg has been operating a program called Save Organic Scraps, or S.O.S., teaching K-12 students about recycling and composting, and giving them the opportunity to create significant waste diversion at their schools and at home.

Composting — turning food waste into rich black soil for use in gardening and other endeavors — creates healthier soil for people and fish, that decreases the need for polluting chemical fertilizers. Diverting food waste from landfills also reduces the Continue reading

AmeriCorps Week: Education for Increased Health and Food Security

Randall CassIn honor of AmeriCorps Week, I’m interviewing people who are current or former AmeriCorps members, to talk with them about their service, and its impact on their communities and their careers. This interview is with Randall Cass, a former intern who’s currently serving with the Northwest Service Academy (NWSA).

Where do you serve?

I am the AmeriCorps placement at Oregon Tilth’s Organic Education Center. Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit dedicated to organic research, education, and certification.

What were you doing before you joined AmeriCorps?

I started my position about four months after I graduated from college. During those months I worked a retail job (not really my thing) while crashing on my sister’s couch until I found a place of my own.

Why did you join AmeriCorps? What did you hope to accomplish? Continue reading