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Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month

Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month - July 2014: Ruth Douglas & Sam Morykwas, MI Nonprofit Association

Ruth Douglas and Sam Morykwas serve as Resource Development AmeriCorps members with the Mentoring to Access Corps (MAC) AmeriCorps program. MAC is a program of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) that places 35 full-time AmeriCorps members with youth mentoring sites, colleges, and universities to increase college access and career readiness for youth across the state of Michigan.

As Resource Development members, Sam and Ruth serve in the MNA Lansing office, and support their fellow members by creating and connecting them to resources that will help them be successful. Ruth is more focused on developing and providing resources for the mentoring side of the program, while Sam is more focused on the campus side of the program.

Recently, Sam and Ruth took on two special projects which impacted AmeriCorps members serving throughout the state of Michigan, and even across the country. They, along with the MNA Civic Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders, created a video series to help explain and promote national service. These videos, which include topics like Using Proper AmeriCorps Lingo, AmeriCorps Elevator Speeches, AmeriCorps State vs. AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps Do's & Don'ts, have been shared and posted by programs across the country, garnering more than 1,000 collective views on YouTube. Sharing these videos can help programs and members explain sometimes-difficult concepts in a quick and humorous way, and have even elevated Sam and Ruth to minor stardom – being recognized at statewide conferences and trainings.

Sam and Ruth also played a key role in creating the social media campaign for the 2014 Michigan’s AmeriCorps Week, which took place May 12-17. Along with the MNA VISTA Leaders, Sam and Ruth developed themes for every day of the week, each with its own unique hashtag. They then presented their ideas to the Michigan Community Service Commission, which decided to implement their campaign for all Michigan’s AmeriCorps programs. Sam and Ruth were instrumental in promoting, contributing to, and tracking the different hashtags throughout #MIACWeek. The campaign was a definite success, with members and programs across the state participating each day. To view a recap of the 2014 Michigan’s AmeriCorps Week, click here.

These two projects, which were 100% member-driven, have gone a long way toward increasing awareness and knowledge of AmeriCorps and national service as a whole, and can continue to be utilized by programs in the future. The initiative Ruth and Sam showed in developing and implementing these projects is a testament to their creativity, service ethic, and commitment to AmeriCorps.

Ruth is a second-year AmeriCorps member, having previously served with the Power of We Consortium in Lansing. She is a graduate of Alma College and is interested in working internationally. Sam is a first-year member and a University of Michigan alumnus. He is interested in doing nonprofit or urban planning work in Detroit.

For more information about the Mentoring to Access Corps, please contact program director Amy Crockett at or (517) 492-2425. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit

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