When Dan Kallio finished law school, he knew he wanted to spend a year giving back to the community before beginning his law career. Today, his impressive resume includes his current position as Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, but Dan began his AmeriCorps service year just like anyone else; with a passion for public service and social justice.
Dan served his term of service with the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago. His primary project was creating a new position for a Housing Coordinator. The goal of this role, he explains, was to create “a streamlined intake process for individuals who were at high risk of losing their home or apartment to eviction or foreclosure.” This position become a permanent part of the organization.
During his time as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Dan learned about the realities of structural poverty. “People often find themselves in poverty through no fault of their own. I encountered dozens of individuals who had seemingly made all the right choices in their lives, but due to circumstances beyond their control (health issues, the loss of a spouse, loss of a job, etc.) they found themselves in a position they never anticipated that they would be in.”
Dan Kallio, Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General
He saw first-hand how difficult it can be to change your situation without any support. “One thing that really stuck with me is how marginalized people can become and how there are little to no structural safeguards in our government policy to help them overcome the obstacles they now face.”
For Dan, AmeriCorps played an integral role in understanding what values he wanted to prioritize throughout his career. “I think as a society, we don’t place enough emphasis on public service. Americorps really reinforced my commitment to public service and solidified that this is what I want to do for a career.” While strengthening Dan’s commitment to working in the public sector, being an AmeriCorps member let him explore different ways to get involved and reflect on where his service was most needed.
All of these lessons helped inform Dan in his current position with the state. “I am an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois and my experience with AmeriCorps was a great way to get my foot in the door with an organization like that.” Although Dan has worked in multiple positions since his time with the Center for Disability and Elder Law, his goals remain nearly the same. “Ultimately, I would like to work in the public sector helping to craft more effective policy to address issues such as poverty.”
AmeriCorps is a national service program that connects people and organizations to help end poverty and strengthen communities. Since 2010, Housing Action has managed a network of AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program, with up to 30 full-year AmeriCorps members and 30+ AmeriCorps Summer Associates serving each year. As an AmeriCorps member, you help nonprofit organizations build their capacity to meet community needs by improving and expanding their services and creating new programs.
Learn more and see available opportunities »