Mission: Ignite and AmeriCorps: An Incredible Partnership

January 12, 2024

As with any nonprofit, Mission: Ignite is dependent on relationships with many partners. One of our most valuable partners is New York State AmeriCorps. Without their aid, we wouldn’t have access to many of the people who  us today. AmeriCorps creates a strong connection with the state, representing our commitment to helping expand our digital equity work statewide. Not only does AmeriCorps benefit Mission: Ignite, but it also supplies many opportunities for those going into community and nonprofit service. To get a sense of how important AmeriCorps is for us, we interviewed several people currently with Mission: Ignite who have been involved with the program:

When he served in AmeriCorps, Conner Wilson helped propel Mission: Ignite’s marketing strategy. For him, it was an enlightening experience. “I learned how nonprofits work and that there are lots of people in Western New York dedicated to making a difference,” he said. “I’ve always found it rewarding.” Conner’s time with AmeriCorps ultimately paid off, as it led him to eventually work full-time at Mission: Ignite as our Partnership Coordinator. Asked about how AmeriCorps has affected his job approach today, he responded simply: “I wouldn’t have my current job if it weren’t for my experience in AmeriCorps.”

Kevin Santiago joined AmeriCorps in 2021, serving as a digital skills trainer for Mission: Ignite’s Tech 360 program. He had a personal stake in pursuing that area of service. “Coming out of graduation, I was considering teaching,” he said. After his first term ended, Kevin decided to continue serving with AmeriCorps. From a practical standpoint, it made sense:“ One of the main reasons [I continued] is that I get an educational reward that allows me to repay school loans.” Kevin admitted that the position is not always easy: “There’s a fear of how I communicate at times. I tend to stutter here and there, but thankfully, everyone’s been patient with me.” In the end, he concluded, it’s still worth it. “I get to help a lot of people, and I enjoy the hands-on experience—it's more rewarding when I’m hands-on.”  Kevin is currently serving his third term with AmeriCorps, still teaching computer skills.

Another employee who transitioned from AmeriCorps to a full-time position at Mission: Ignite is Tekia Pitts. She initially improved Mission: Ignite’s social media presence, but later got involved with outreach. “When I graduated from college, I was interested in communications and wanted to learn more,” she said. “AmeriCorps allowed me to gain experience and move around a lot,” Tekia mentioned how rewarding it was to meet people benefiting from Mission: Ignite’s work. “I learned to communicate with the people we were serving, understanding their needs, and getting personal with them.”  Since ending her AmeriCorps term, Tekia has continued doing outreach for Mission: Ignite.“ Because I’ve worked in so many departments, my knowledge is very diverse. I can be cross-functional now.”

Mission: Ignite is grateful for the dedication Conner, Kevin, Tekia, and every other AmeriCorps member has shown. We appreciate our relationship with AmeriCorps, and we look forward to our continued partnership in years to come.

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