After graduating with a Masters in Sociology from Roosevelt University and while awaiting her matriculation into Loyola University’s School of Social Work, Joy Powell hopped onto her computer in May searching for summer opportunities.
“I have the summer, I’m going back to school,” she thought. “I want to do something with my summer that will get me engaged in pretty much the same or similar work I would be doing throughout the school year.”
When she came across AmeriCorps VISTA’s Summer Associate program, she knew that she found the perfect fit. Housing Action Illinois places Summer Associates at member organizations across the state to work full-time for 8-10 weeks in a variety direct and indirect service projects.
Joy spent her summer at the Chicago Jobs Council assisting in their data mapping efforts to locate supportive employment
providers throughout Chicago. As Joy explained, the goal of the project is to learn “just about everything that these specific organizations can and will do for those who come to them asking for supportive employment.”
In addition to her research project, Joy enjoyed the variety of learning and networking opportunities offered to her through the position. “Everybody’s been so wonderful in including me into all kinds of different things,” said Joy. “So I’m gaining a well-rounded perspective on everything associated with homelessness and employment.”
Now that the summer is nearly over, Joy’s term at the Chicago Jobs Council is wrapping up, but her involvement with AmeriCorps is not. All AmeriCorps VISTA alumni continue to have access to the support of AmeriCorps staff upon completion of their term as they work to reach their professional goals. Joy wants to help spread the word about what she calls “an amazing program” by potentially serving as a campus ambassador in the fall.