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Member Profile: Meet Jen Jones, AmeriCorps VISTA Member with Community Blueprint Network July 5, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Member Spotlight.
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Jen Jones is an AmeriCorps VISTA Member assigned to the Community Blueprint Network and hosted by the Veterans Innovation Center, through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps. In her assignment as a Community Blueprint coordinator, Jones develops the topical content, support tools, project infrastructure and community decision-making structures and processes to execute the Blueprint in the areas of reintegration, housing and homelessness. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Westminster College.

What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps member?
Throughout college I dreamed of joining the Peace Corps. After making it through most of the application process and just a few weeks before my invitation was to be sent, I had an unexplainable hospitalization that left me medically disqualified. However, I was committed to service and decided that moving to D.C. and serving as an AmeriCorps member was the logical decision.

What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?
The Community Blueprint Network sounded like a chance to be involved in the beginnings of a truly great project. I couldn’t turn down the chance to hone my writing skills and work with many non-profits in the D.C. area. I don’t come from a military background, and over the past year I have learned so much about our military community and have really gained an appreciation for the sacrifices made by servicemembers, veterans and military families.

About what accomplishment from your year of service are you most proud?
The VISTA team I am a part of has authored over 300 pages of material intended to help future Blueprint participating communities start their own projects. Seeing all of those documents together brings a sense of legitimacy to the project. I’m proud to have been a part of the team that put that together.

What are your future plans after your AmeriCorps service year?
In August, I will be heading for Ghana to teach junior high students self-expression through creative writing and photography. I will also be helping to establish the volunteer program at the school. The skills I developed through my VISTA experience, such as coordinating volunteers and forming partnerships with other organizations, will come in handy as I develop my network of support for the project.

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