Taking a Gap Year? Join AmeriCorps!


Sidney Moyers, Associate Editor-in-Chief

Deciding on what to do after high school can be extremely challenging and stressful; you may be unsure of where to go, what you want to do, or even undecided on if you want to go to college at all. Still, you might want to better yourself by having a job or doing community service. That’s where AmeriCorps can come in and save the day.

What is AmeriCorps exactly, you ask? Well, it is a corporation for National and Community Service that helps people prepare for the workforce and learn valuable life lessons through community service and education.

There are more than 80,000 Americans, aged 18-24, across the country participating in AmeriCorps each year. What do you really do?


  1. If there is a tornado, flood, forest fire, or hurricane, AmeriCorps members help communities recover from the damage caused by that disaster.
  2. Help people who are living in poverty have economic opportunity, AmeriCorps members build affordable housing units for families.
  3. To promote environmental stewardship, AmeriCorps members remove trash and other man-made debris from local ponds.
  4. AmeriCorps members assist veterans and military families in filing for benefits claims, so they get access to the resources they need.

There are perks as well, such as: student loan deferment, on-the-job-training, a living allowance, limited health benefit options, a $5,000 stipend for college, graduate school, or vocational training upon completion of the ten-month program, or to repay student loans, and career opportunities with leading employers from the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Their website explains the AmeriCorps NCCC as a “full-time, residential, team-based program for young adults age 18-24.” Volunteers participate in the 10 month program with 8-10 other members to help the needs of their community.

Austin Lange, Class of 2011 Sahuaro graduate joined Americorps when he was twenty.  Stationed in both California and Texas, he stated, Americorps is a good opportunity  to save for school while networking future job opportunities.  The funnest parts were traveling and meeting people from different parts of the country.”

If you’re more interested in helping around the nation, and even in some cases, the world, then you should consider joining their VISTA program. While you will still be helping people, this program is a year long and more focused on individual work in the community.

Regardless of what you decide to do in life, joining AmeriCorps is a great way to get involved in the community, while also benefiting yourself.