Service program opens eyes for Oswego grad
By Jane Donahue For Sun-Times Media August 30, 2013 10:00AM
Kelly Kanan, 24, recently completed 10 months of full-time service as a member of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corp. Here she visits the Grand Canyon in March. | Submitted
AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,200 young adults serve nationwide each year. AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
Updated: October 2, 2013 6:08AM
Kelly Kanan, 24, recently graduated from the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). The Oswego resident was one of 479 young adults who completed 10 months of full-time service for the national program.
“(It has been) the most amazing experience in my life so far,” said Kanan, a 2007 graduate of Oswego High School. “I gained lifelong friends and the opportunity to meet and work with people from all walks of life who continuously opened my eyes to new things.”
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,200 young adults serve nationwide each year. During their 10-month term, Corps members work in small teams, addressing “critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.”
Kanan first learned about AmeriCorps while a senior at Grand Valley State University, where she earned her degree in 2011.
“I graduated college and was still unsure what I wanted to do with my life and career,” she said. “I knew I wanted to travel and I have always enjoyed volunteering and helping others. This program seemed like the perfect way to combine those things while getting a wide range of experiences.”
The 24-year-old began her service in October, 2012. During her 10-month stint, she traveled across the southwest United States working on projects in Arkansas, Arizona, Texas and Colorado.
She said there were highlights throughout her service, but a couple of things stand out.
“First (is) my team,” she said. “We started out as strangers from all across the country but by week two they were my second family. Second highlight would be when I was assisting in a classroom in the Third Ward of Houston, and the overall excitement a young girl had when I taught her how to jump rope.”
Kanan plans to serve a second year with AmeriCorps beginning next month, where her first project will be working for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley.
“I wanted to take the knowledge and skills that I gained from AmeriCorps NCCC and bring that back home to help serve my local communities while also continuing to gain more experience,” she said.