Celebrating Service: A look back at More than a Decade with AmeriCorps

CARITAS Americorps Service Members in Richmond VA 2019

In 2009, CARITAS became a placement site for AmeriCorps. Since our partnership began, nearly 150 individuals have participated in our AmeriCorps program, providing over 236,000 hours of service!

“Many members were recruited from the clients that we serve and were re-entering the workforce after a period of absence,” says AmeriCorps Program Manager Susan Carminucci.  “AmeriCorps service gave them the opportunity to develop skills, get back on their feet, and give back to the community that gave them a helping hand.”

For the past 12 years, Susan says AmeriCorps members played a significant role in CARITAS’s ability to reach more of our vulnerable community members. As services members at CARITAS, men and women touched all of the CARITAS programs.  In addition to serving within our own programs, members have built tables, cleaned parks, conducted food and clothing drives, prepared meals, and persevered through a pandemic. 

This August, CARITAS will no longer be an AmeriCorps service site. As we make this transition, we’re celebrating Susan, our team, and our community.

“As I scanned back on our roster over the last 12 years, it was a trip down memory lane,” Susan recalls. “Some members will be permanently etched in my heart… I recently had lunch downtown with my family and we ran into someone I had known through CARITAS.  The genuine feeling of community made me so proud.”

CARITAS is also a proud employer of National Service members with 19 members continuing on as staff members at CARITAS.  Many members used their educational awards to pursue degrees; others were able to pass these along to family members. Three of our programs are currently led by former AmeriCorps members.

Americorps Volunteer Richmond VAThe Healing Place Program Director Stephen Vicoli, for example, held the first AmeriCorps position in The Healing Place Program in 2013. As Peer Mentor Supervisor, he says his favorite thing about serving with CARITAS “is role modeling appropriate behavior and sharing my experience, strength, and hope.”

This initial role led him to pursue a long-term career at CARITAS.

“AmeriCorps afforded me an opportunity to continue to grow even once my time in the recovery program was completed,” says Recovery Services Senior Manager Benjamin Carr.  

His first AmeriCorps Role led to a staff position as Transition Coordinator. Today, he leads our Recovery Residences. 

“In much the same way AmeriCorps started me on a path of service, I love being a part of an organization that provides service to those in need,” he says.  “Having been a client, it is a rewarding experience to be a part of something that makes a difference in people’s lives, including my own.”

Furniture Bank Program Manager and Customer Service Specialist Sandy Morris became an AmeriCorps Service member in 2014 as a Client Support Specialist. Eventually, she earned a permanent position on staff as a leader. 

“My favorite part about working here is that we really live out our mission to help restore dignity to our clients,” she says. “I love who we are, what we do, and what/who we stand for.”

Thank you to Susan for your compassionate service and to AmeriCorps for your partnership!