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AmeriCorps can help career paths
Haley Elliot began serving with Cherry Health’s AmeriCorps program while obtaining her master’s degree in public health at Grand Valley State University.
“When I moved to Grand Rapids, I was very determined to find a way to gain public health experience,” said Haley, who wanted an opportunity to get to know her new community while giving back.
“I didn’t know a ton at the time, but I loved everything about the position description.”
During her service term with Cherry Health, Haley had a variety of responsibilities, including health coaching, community outreach and recruitment. Her role allowed her the flexibility to take on tasks that interested her, as well as giving her the chance to work within the community to meet with other organizations and link patients to care.
In addition to Cherry Health service projects, Haley was also able to lead Catherine’s Blood Drive, assist in making Christmas bags for Streams of Hope patrons, and attend many community events, like the Disability Awareness Day.
Haley credits health coaching as one of her favorite parts of her service year.
“Seeing my patients make progress and work so hard just brought me a sense of fulfillment,” said Haley.
“As I am wrapping up my term, saying my goodbyes to them has been difficult.”
Haley’s service term with Cherry Health has ended, but she is preparing to start another term at a new AmeriCorps host site in a few weeks. She feels bittersweet about the change but is eager to learn new things at her new site.
Following her AmeriCorps terms, Haley will complete her master’s in public health and hopes to start a career in health education.
“Serving is important to me because you can learn so much in such little time,” said Haley.
“It allows you to give back to the community, listen, help those who need it, and teaches you many lessons along the way.”
Serving with AmeriCorps is a great opportunity not only to give back to your community, like Haley, but also to gain valuable experience and preparation for future employment. AmeriCorps also has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers free and confidential legal, financial, or other personal counseling or support services to employees. Additionally, those who serve a full term as AmeriCorps VISTA members also have non-competitive employment eligibility (NCE) for a year following their service year. For more information, visit https://americorps.gov/about/careers.