My name is Kiko Ramirez and I have served 3 year long AmeriCorps terms through the Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps program. I began my first term in the fall of 2015, immediately following my high school graduation. Since the commencement of my first term of service, I have grown exponentially in all areas of my life. I began my journey of national service at Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) where I served as a Naturalist. I began my term as a kid and by the end of my term I was a young adult with a great resume including leadership skills, communication skills, and so much more. I got years of growth in one jam packed year! This did not come easy, however. My position at NOS has been the most challenging position I have held, but it was well worth it! Along the way I made memories with fellow members who would become lifelong friends who I would have never met without AmeriCorps. It was also during my service at NOS that I discovered my passion for working with children and my career path. Gaining experience in a field involving working directly with children gave me the opportunity to decide on a career based on first hand knowledge of what that career entails. National service is a great way to discover your career path and passions!
Following my successful completion of my contract with NOS, I entered into my second AmeriCorps term at the Frontier Community Action Agency (FCAA). This position was vastly different from my position with NOS. During my first month at the agency I helped with their food commodities distribution along with my fellow AmeriCorps members. After loading cartons of milk onto a cart to be distributed, we pulled the cart to arrange the milk. We had stacked the milk too high and realized our mistake much too late. The next thing we knew the milk came tumbling down and came crashing down on the floor around us. The milk exploded from the cartons and spilled all over the floor. It was quite a mess to clean up but it is now a great memory to look back on with individuals who served at the FCAA with me. At the FCAA I have made professional connections through participation in community meetings. I have acquired experience in coordinating programs and have had the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes to discover what it takes for a non-profit to thrive.
Another bonus to serving with AmeriCorps has been the flexibility of my host sites pursue a higher education while completing my AmeriCorps service. Not only have I gained an experienced unparalleled to any other, but I was also able to earn my Associate of Arts degree simultaneously. I was able to earn my degree completely debt-free thanks to the Education Award members can earn upon successful completion of service contracts. My AmeriCorps service experience has been nothing short of life-changing and I could not recommend national service more!