The AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon

Engaging and revitalizing communities through national service

By Graham Green, Habitat for Humanity national service senior specialist and AmeriCorps VISTA alum

AmeriCorps members serve in a variety of roles to help us operate more efficiently and effectively and serve more families.


The AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon is here. Our annual event brings more than 400 Habitat AmeriCorps members and alums from across the country together for a week of building, fellowship and service. This year, the Build-a-Thon is hosted in partnership with Greater Des Moines Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity of Wake County and Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity.

For AmeriCorps members, the Build-a-Thon is an opportunity to step away from their day-to-day service, reconnect with their peers and reflect on their larger personal journey. It’s going to be a great week, equal parts fun and hard work. This gathering of Habitat AmeriCorps members, 40 partner families and volunteers from three communities will result in 10 new homes, two rehabbed homes and 26 homes repaired.

Considering a full-time service opportunity? Here are 10 reasons to join Habitat AmeriCorps.

10. Tools. Table saws, hammer drills and computers can help make quick work of tasks, and you can learn to use them from trained professionals. Weren’t expecting computers? AmeriCorps members serve many roles that help affiliates plan for growth and increase their capacity, hammer not always required. Hear from Crystal Fisher as she shares the tools she learned to use in AmeriCorps.
9. Make friends or meet your mate. Through service, you will meet so many people with similar interests and values. Service can even strengthen current relationships. Meet Duncan and Veronica who learned quite a bit about each other while serving in AmeriCorps with Habitat.
8. Learn new skills and open doors. Service can help you apply and strengthen the skills you have. We also invest in you and give you the chance to gain experience, live in a new location or get a new perspective on a familiar locale. Kyle Shillington learned a lot while serving with Habitat.
7. Serve your country. You can share in the strong sense of service and mission that AmeriCorps offers. Vietnam veteran and Habitat AmeriCorps alum, Neal Pointer says it best: “It gave me a chance to serve my country again.”
6. The cause of affordable housing for all. There are nearly 2 billion people around the world who live in slum housing, and more than 100 million are homeless. We want to change that, and you can help. Additionally, AmeriCorps offers nearly 80,000 opportunities a year to get involved with many different causes.
5. The opportunity to travel. AmeriCorps has more than 400 positions available in 37 states, and members travel to our leadership conference each fall and to our Build-a-Thon each spring. (To travel abroad, please go on a Global Village trip!)
4. Money for school. Earn education awards of up to $5,500 after successfully completing of a term of service (limit of two awards). Use it to pay for school or to pay down student loans. Those 55 and older can even transfer the award.
3. Benefits. AmeriCorps service includes a monthly living allowance, health benefits, child care benefits (if applicable), the previously mentioned Education Award and more.
2. Make a difference. AmeriCorps members are neither staff nor volunteer. They decide to dedicate a year or more of their lives to live and work with the communities they serve. They have specific goals to meet, and the work is not easy. The tradeoff: making a tremendous difference in the lives of others — and in their own. Hear Stephanie Ham describe her service.
1. The people. No matter where you go, Habitat attracts kind, caring, dedicated and hardworking people. Habitat AmeriCorps alum Kailey Redding  puts it like this: “Serve for the lifelong friends you will make and the people you will help. There is no other experience like it!”
Interested? Learn more and apply here or here. Meet more of our members and alums and hear why they serve.

Related story

AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon opens doors — Read about how the process of becoming a homeowner has had an empowering effect on new Habitat homeowners.