On Being an AmeriCorps Member in Thomas

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

This week is AmeriCorps Week 2017. For those of you who aren't familiar, AmeriCorps is a national service program (similar to Peace Corps) that supports communities like ours while giving members a chance to gain valuable professional experience, make an impact, and pay off student loans. According to the AmeriCorps website, I am one of 1 million AmeriCorps members serving around the United States since 1994.

I moved to Thomas from Metro-Atlanta in September 2016 and am serving with New Historic Thomas as well as Tucker County Development Authority and Tucker County Planning Commission. Before finding my position online, I had been wanting to move to a rural area, specifically in Appalachia, to work on community and economic development projects.

Here are some perks of living and working in Thomas as an AmeriCorps member:

  1. I can walk from my house to the sites where I serve!
  2. It's easier to "get things done" (following the AmeriCorps motto) since everyone in Thomas cares about Thomas and supports one another.
  3. I can see live music, go to art galleries, and recreate outdoors without leaving Thomas or even getting in my car. 
  4. Most people in Thomas are so kind, hospitable, and fun-loving, which makes adjusting to a new environment easier.
  5. A lot of AmeriCorps members have trouble seeing an immediate impact of their service, but people in Thomas let me know that they are grateful for my service. 
Me enjoying the blue skies on a trip to Belington.

Me enjoying the blue skies on a trip to Belington.

Picking up and moving to a small, tight-knit community like Thomas far away from my family, home, and a lot of the conveniences living in a city has to offer has been more of an adjustment for me than I had originally thought, and I don't regret a moment of it.

No matter where I end up after my service term ends, I will always cherish my experience of living and serving in Thomas and Tucker County.