Chicago Cares AmeriCorps Role: Service Events Specialist AmeriCorps*VISTA Member

In honor of AmeriCorps week, Chicago Cares staff members sat down with each of our 5 AmeriCorps members to find out a little more about them and their service year. Here is what Erin Sutton had to say about her experience so far this year.
How did you hear about AmeriCorps and what made you decide to do a service year?
I have always been really interested in service. As an adult, I focused my energy on organizing community service projects for my fellow students at the University of Michigan. I always thought I wanted to do the Peace Corps, but then heard about AmeriCorps through my family and decided to check out the website. The VISTA positions really seemed to fit my interests and skills.
Have you done any other AmeriCorps programs?
No, Chicago Cares is my first position.
What drew you to Chicago Cares specifically?
Well, I went to school in Michigan and wanted to move somewhere else. Through the AmeriCorps website, I found the posting for Chicago Cares and was really drawn to the mission of the organization. What I like most about the Chicago Cares model, is not just bringing volunteer opportunities to people in Chicago, but through the leadership process, building, training and encouraging people to step up and become leaders in their communities.
Tell us about your favorite part of AmeriCorps so far.
I really like getting to know all of the Chicago Cares staff members, volunteers and leaders. Celebration of Service was a big highlight for me this year; I love watching everyone’s enthusiasm on the day of the event and seeing all of our Bus Ambassadors and Roadies in action was really inspiring.
What are you most excited about working on before your service year ends?
I’m definitely excited about Serve-a-thon this year. I’m excited to see the whole event from start to finish and to get to know all of the Roadies and Bus Ambassadors. I am also excited to help with the process of finding new ways to improve our leadership program and to leave ideas for the next AmeriCorps member in the position.
What skills have you learned in your year that you’ll take with you to your next job?
I’ve learned things this year that I didn’t realize I ever would. Things like basic web design, database management and refining my skills in MS Office. I’ve also learned a lot about working as a team for the benefit of the entire organization and bringing new and creative ideas and watching them in action.
What are you plans for after AmeriCorps?
I hope to start law school in fall 2011.  In the meantime, I would like to stay in the non-profit field. Ultimately, I’m interested in using my law degree to work for an NGO or human interest organization.
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