AmeriCorps celebrates 25th anniversary at LBJ Auditorium

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Attendees of the AmeriCorps Memorial Service gather around the Austin Public Library booth at the LBJ Center on Oct. 4, 2019. About 100 AmeriCorps members nationwide celebrated the the 25th anniversary of the national civil service program at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium.

Photo Credit: Kidus Solomon | Daily Texan Staff

AmeriCorps, a national civil service program, hosted various festivities Friday, Oct. 4 at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Around 100 AmeriCorps members from across the nation attended the event to recognize the service of fellow members and induct its newest class. The event included various speakers, a networking breakfast and a festival with crafts, games and food.

Corine Boconvi, an AmeriCorps member and UT alumna, said the event allowed members to celebrate the achievements of AmeriCorps and its plans for the future. Boconvi said she works in the Communities In Schools division, which places AmeriCorps members in Central Texas schools to tutor and mentor at-risk students, according to the Communities In Schools website. 

“This event is … not only about networking and getting to know other AmeriCorps (members) who have not only served in different chapters but also getting a chance to celebrate how great Americorps has been and what they continue to do,” Boconvi said.

AmeriCorps has different divisions and programs that serve communities both locally and across the nation, according to the website. Program officer Pat Guzmán-Weema said
AmeriCorps is important because it is a way to get citizens involved in improving communities.

“This year we have over 3,000 members serving in communities all over the state, and they address any local needs,” Guzmán-Weema said. “Our country has a lot of local needs that aren’t being met in other ways, and this is a way … to address those needs when they aren’t being addressed in other ways.”

Flo Cuadra attended the event and said she is an AmeriCorps member serving Keep Austin Housed, which is an organization that places AmeriCorps members in Austin to address issues of homelessness, according to the website.

“I’ve learned to take everything that I’ve learned in my life and actually apply it in the real world,” Cuadra said. “Keep Austin Housed has really helped me find a community of people I can do that with.”

Guzmán-Weema said she served for two years as an attorney in the Equal Justice Works division. During her service in New Orleans, she assisted low-income clients with landlord-tenant issues, public
housing and other similar tasks.

“I think of AmeriCorps as a movement focused on helping communities address their needs while also providing the members with a very meaningful experience to further their own growth and civic
engagement,” Guzmán-Weema said.