This week is AmeriCorps Week, a week celebrating the service of more than 1 million AmeriCorps members since its inception in 1994.

Many people I’ve talked to haven’t heard of AmeriCorps before. AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of members who spend their time improving lives and fostering civic engagement. This comes in many forms. Helping with disaster relief, building affordable housing, mentoring students, assisting veterans and natural resource management are some of the many ways AmeriCorps members help out their communities.

This is my first term serving in AmeriCorps. The program I am serving with is the AmeriCorps 4-H Environmental Education program, which was newly founded last year across the state of Iowa to focus on training the next generation of environmentalists and to get kids to love the outdoors.

I have been working with Clinton County Conservation and have learned so much between the two programs. I’ve really enjoyed being able to visit schools this winter and get kids excited about nature. I am looking forward to the warmer seasons when we are able to get kids outside and in nature doing fun things at our parks. My favorite thing to do with kids is paddle the backwaters of the Mississippi at Rock Creek.

AmeriCorps offers many different opportunities with many different benefits. If you’re curious about these opportunities, visit their website at https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps and check out what other people are doing on their social media.

Erin Toohey

Bettendorf