Why join AmeriCorps at Arthurdale Heritage?
After graduating from WVU last year with a degree in International Studies, I decided to take an AFHA AmeriCorps position at Arthurdale Heritage. My year of service here has been incredible. It’s not only a great resume booster, but also the perfect transition from college to a career. Thanks to the meaningful work we do here, I have learned so many new skills and can now market myself in so many different directions. I’ve seen improvements with my public speaking, confidence, networking, marketing and communication, people skills, and so much more. It also provides invaluable experience if you want to work in the nonprofit world.
Because of this position, just to name a few examples, I’ve been in the paper twice, on the news once, and on two separate occasions met a WV Senator and a WV Representative. It truly has been a year of personal development, while also making a difference in the community.
About the site, Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. (AHI)
Arthurdale is right next door in Preston County and is a wealth of unique American history. It was the first community created under the New Deal Homestead Subsistence Act. It became Eleanor Roosevelt’s pet project and therefore, she spent a great deal of time here. AHI comprises of the Center Hall complex, Administration building, Forge, old Esso station, and two original homes. One of the coolest things about this AmeriCorps position is that they actually provide housing for their members—a perk not common of other AmeriCorps sites and programs. I get to live in one of the beautiful original homes that the museum owns! Besides a free place to stay while serving for a year, there are other perks to joining AmeriCorps, as well. You get bi-monthly stipends, eligibility for SNAP and other assistance programs, loan deferral, and upon completing your term, you receive an education award of nearly $6,000 that can go towards more schooling or towards student loans.
The community is so fun to work with, too! Being a small nonprofit, we rely a lot on volunteers and fundraising. Those two struggles, believe it or not, are some of the best parts of working here. Many of the volunteers are descendants of original homesteaders or grew up in Arthurdale their whole lives, so they have amazing stories to share. Just being a part of this community alone has made my time here worthwhile.
What do you do?
Day-to-day activities can range from giving tours, to planning events, handling the social media page, helping with unique classes (from weaving to baby goat yoga), volunteer recruitment and management, and overall doing what you can to help the small non-profit museum. You can also attend an array of seminars, courses, conferences, and receive free admission into events to represent AHI, such as Cheat Fest. Serving here is pleasant, fulfilling, and fun! AHI gets two AmeriCorps members a year which makes it even more enjoyable. Serving at AHI has been one of the best decisions I’ve made upon graduation. Both of us AmeriCorps members are grateful for this experience and want to share it with some of those unsure of what to do or looking to serve next year.