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Member Profile: Meet Jenna Londynsky, Community Blueprint Network initiative @ Give an Hour April 5, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Member Spotlight.
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Jenna Londynsky, AmeriCorps VISTA with Give an Hour

What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps member?
AmeriCorps presented me with the opportunity to do more with my bachelor’s degree in secondary education, social studies and minor in psychology than I ever thought possible. AmeriCorps offered me an opportunity to bring practical life experiences to my future career as a teacher. Hopefully, my experience at AmeriCorps will make me a better-rounded instructor. AmeriCorps’ commitment to strengthening communities has become the foundation for success in many aspects of my life, especially the enrichment of my perspective. I began to research available projects after hearing about a life-changing AmeriCorps experience from a friend.

What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?
One of my close friends from high school died in a motorcycle accident two months after his return from a tour in Iraq. His death solidified my resolve to support military service members and their families in any capacity available. Give an Hour is a non-profit organization, which provides free behavioral health services to military service members, their families and veterans. After my second interview, I knew that Give an Hour would provide me with the personal, professional and life skills needed to support the military population and the general population.
The Community Blueprint Network (“the Blueprint”) is a project, which aims to bridge the gaps between resources and services for the military population while connecting civilian and military communities. Implemented with support of Give an Hour and the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps, the Blueprint spoke to me as an avenue of self-development and a way to support the men and women who serve.

About what accomplishment from your year of service are you most proud?
The ability to help shape and morph the Blueprint appealed to me. The project truly belongs to the community members, so my role as a field site representative is to listen to what the community needs and help my organization deliver and implement promising practices in order to address the gaps.
Living in Fayetteville, N.C., home to Fort Bragg — one of the largest military installations in the world, has shown me that there are very specific gaps between the military and civilian communities. One of the gaps we identified through regular meetings with committed members of the Blueprint, was a lack of collaboration and communication between behavioral health professionals. A member in our behavioral health working group mentioned that he, with the help of others, was forming a Behavioral Health Professionals Association — the first of its kind in the area. My supervisor had heard of a similar group developing on Fort Bragg. Through connecting these two groups, and the behavioral health working group in the Blueprint, we were able to better support the military and civilian communities. We brought together military, private, state-funded and various other cross-sector resources in order to foster collaboration, networking and training opportunities.

What are your future plans after your AmeriCorps service year?
I hope to continue supporting underprivileged communities with the Peace Corps after my service with AmeriCorps. My experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA has helped me to develop valuable life tools such as: strong intrapersonal communication, networking, bringing together community members and helping to build capacity. It has been an honor and a privilege to support military servicemembers, their families and veterans through the Community Blueprint Network. The experience gained through my AmeriCorps service year will be translated through all of my future endeavors. Supporting communities and showing genuine care has made my time at AmeriCorps a successful experience that will continue to grow in the future.

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