Editor’s Note: March 4 - 11, 2017 was AmeriCorps Week, a time to celebrate the individuals, programs, and organizations across the United States that serve our communities every day. In honor of the 80,000 Americans that are serving in 2017, Mae Knowles reflects on what service means to her as an AmeriCorps member at Teton Science Schools. 

I have come to learn that service takes many forms. Growing up as the daughter of two social workers who have served my home community much of their lives, I have seen one type of service up close and personal. By being a part of the National Military Family Association retreat at Teton Science Schools in February, I was able to meet some people that have done the great service of protecting our country. The AmeriCorps programs across the country exemplify even more forms of service; from responding to disasters, to addressing unmet educational needs within low-income communities, to supporting military families, and more. 

Through my AmeriCorps service I have been able to offer my time and skills to do meaningful work for this community but also my country as a whole. As an AmeriCorps member, I give to this community because I believe that strengthening a community will strengthen my country. At the core of every service member’s term is a desire to give. Service often means giving without expecting anything in return. But I have found that by giving a little of my time, knowledge and enthusiasm I have gotten an immeasurable return. I believe that service can create community.  By joining the AmeriCorps team at Teton Science Schools, I have been welcomed into a dynamic community that believes every individual has something to offer, a community that believes in inspiring local leaders to become global citizens. By working together we can improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement - that is the AmeriCorps mission. To be a part of such a passionate and cohesive community is worth a lifetime of service to me.

Thank you to all of those who have served our country. I am honored to be a part of that greater community!