Reflections from AmeriCorps Member on MLK Week of Service

Every year, the CapacityCorps members from Rebuilding Together affiliates across the U.S. come together to serve in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This year, Krista and I traveled to Lafayette, LA to help Rebuilding Together Acadiana make repairs on six homes in one of their target neighborhoods. The experience was an opportunity to bond with other AmeriCorps members and to learn about the importance of service within our communities.

On MLK day, January 18, 2016, I worked with 8 other Capacity Corps members, and 9 local AmeriCorps members from the University of Louisiana – Lafayette on a young woman’s home in the Monroe neighborhood. Together, we tore down rotten siding, scraped chipped paint, and began installing new flooring in the living room. Over the next three days, we replaced the siding, washed the house, painted the new siding and trim, installed flooring in two rooms, replaced the sink cabinet, added a new countertop, and painted the existing cabinets. Similar projects were completed on five neighboring homes. The week was an excellent experience and a welcomed break from the bitter Minnesota winter. For myself, I enjoyed spending time with my CapacityCorps peers and learning about their experiences with their affiliates, all while being able to serve the Acadiana community.

In addition to the physical work, we were visited by a number of different elected officials and community leaders to talk with about the importance of AmeriCorps and community service. During the day, Lieutenant Governor William Nungesser walked around the neighborhood and conversed with both CapacityCorps and Louisiana AmeriCorps members, thanking us for our service. Accompanying the Lt. Governor, Bill Basl, the Director of AmeriCorps, welcomed everyone to Louisiana and gave his appreciation for our hard work. It was very rewarding to receive this kind of recognition, and to see that we are supported for the work that we do. It put things in perspective for me as I am thankful for the pioneers of the CapacityCorps program and the opportunities they have provided to people across the country.

MLK Week 2016 was a great success. The CapacityCorps group is an exciting and diverse collection of people from all different kinds of backgrounds and stages in life. Not only was it a positive experience to work alongside them, but also to converse with on and off the worksite at meals and in hotel rooms. The week was a reflection of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., as we engaged in great conversations and learned from each other’s experiences, all while coming together to work for the better of our community.

Author Ethan Boote is 2015-2016 CapacityCorps AmeriCorps Member serving with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.