While most young adults use a gap year after college to take a break and engage in activities such as traveling, volunteering, mentoring or educational opportunities, Danielle integrated all of those experiences in one year when she joined Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ (Habitat LA) AmeriCorps Program. Equipped with only a bachelor’s degree in Communications, very little professional work experience, but a servant’s heart as big as the sun, Danielle helped thousands of people access critical information about affordable housing solutions in greater Los Angeles.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect as an AmeriCorps,” said Danielle. “But I knew I wanted to help others the best I could.”
AmeriCorps service members have been a vital part of Habitat LA’s mission over the years, building homes, communities and hope in many ways. When Danielle joined the AmeriCorps team last year to redesign and relaunch Habitat LA’s website, her goal was to make the website an educational resource for the greater Los Angeles community. Her work during this time produced a user-friendly website helping future habitat homeowners start their journey to homeownership.
As cities and states reopen, Habitat LA is eager to safely resume operations in the Los Angeles area, where one in five people are spending more than half of their income on housing, leaving them less able to cover other basic necessities like food and health care. With funds awarded this year by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Habitat LA will secure ten Habitat AmeriCorps positions in community outreach, construction crew leadership, donor relations, event planning, and volunteer services.
“The response to our call to join the ranks of Habitat LA AmeriCorps has been a huge blessing,” said Erin Rank, President and CEO of Habitat LA. “The additional dedicated support will help us address the needs of low-income families and communities across Los Angeles who have been hit hardest as a result of the pandemic.”
The shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing was already at crisis levels prior to the pandemic. Now, with 19.5% of people filing for unemployment in Los Angeles County, the situation is far worse.
AmeriCorps members serve full-time for at least a year at local Habitat organizations across the country and are paid a stipend for their service. Habitat for Humanity covers roughly half the cost of each service member, delivering results at a much lower cost than direct government services.
Habitat LA has been a proud participant in the Habitat AmeriCorps program since its inception in 1994. More than 11,256 AmeriCorps members have worked with Habitat to serve more than 122,758 individuals, engaging more than 4.2 million volunteers and raising tens of millions of dollars to meet the housing needs of families in the U.S.
“Being an AmeriCorps with Habitat LA was the most rewarding feeling,” said Danielle. “I went from not having very many web development skills at all, to feeling completely comfortable independently managing a website that receives 20,000 views a month!”
After completion of her service, Danielle was hired as a full-time Habitat LA employee with the Marketing and Communications team, continuing her impactful work with the website, the organization’s most used communication tool.
“The more you manifest a servant’s heart in all that you do, the more of an impact you’ll have on people’s lives.” – Jim George, American Author
To learn more about Habitat LA AmeriCorps and how to get involved, visit Habitat LA AmeriCorps Opportunities.