Chicago Cares is happy to welcome three new HandsOn AmeriCorps members for their 2011-2012 year of service. Today we’re talking to Adrienne Cherry, who is working with our Volunteer and Leader Services program.

How did you hear about AmeriCorps and what made you decide to do a service year?
I have two friends who have done a service year with AmeriCorps programs in Texas and in Iowa, and they both had really positive experiences that they shared with me. Through my own work and service experiences, I have found that the best way to learn about myself and discover what my personal aspirations are, is to serve the community in a genuine way. AmeriCorps has given me the opportunity to serve the community and gain skills that will help me as I continue on to graduate school and my career.

Have you participated in any other AmeriCorps programs?
This is my first experience participating in an AmeriCorps program.

What drew you to Chicago Cares specifically?
I have experience working with and mentoring youth from communities that are similar to the ones served by Chicago Cares, and I was eager to take the opportunity to find an organization where I could continue to serve and make an impact. After learning about the goals of this organization and the passion of the people who work here, I was excited to join the team!

Tell us about your favorite part of AmeriCorps so far.
So far my favorite part of AmeriCorps has been being able to work in Chicago, which is one of my favorite cities! Another great aspect of AmeriCorps has been getting to meet new people and volunteers who work with Chicago Cares.

What are you most excited about working on before your service year ends?
I am looking forward to working with the staff on large events like Celebration of Service and Serve-a-thon. I am also looking forward to getting involved as a volunteer with some of the Chicago Cares ongoing programs so that I can gain experience working directly with adults and youth in the communities we serve.

What skills would you like to learn and take with you to your next job?
I would like to improve upon my abilities to relate to and communicate with people to motivate them to pursue their goals and get engaged in serving their communities. I plan to continue focusing on people and relationships in my career, so I think these skills will allow me to become a stronger leader in the future.

What are you plans for after AmeriCorps?
After my year of service, I plan to attend graduate school in Psychology. My goals are to pursue a career in counseling youth and young adults and remain involved in community service and outreach.