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When you can see the impact you’re having: An interview with one of our AmeriCorps members

This week, AmeriCorps Week, SBP is deploying a team to Florida in partnership with AmeriCorps Disaster Services Unit to serve in an operations and logistics capacity at a FEMA COVID-19 mass vaccination site. We’re once again stepping in to address disaster — not a natural one this time, but one that has equally devastated lives and communities. We rebuild homes efficiently using the Toyota Production System, and our AmeriCorps members will take and apply that same model as they serve in Florida.

Frank Manjaly, SBP AmeriCorps member
Frank Manjaly, SBP AmeriCorps member

Frank Manjaly, an AmeriCorps member joining our COVID-19 response team for the next 30 days, explains what his service means to him.

How did you initially connect with AmeriCorps programs?

One summer in college, I participated in a short-term AmeriCorps program at the Community Food Bank in Tucson, Arizona. The work environment was great. Everyone was really excited to help people and really involved in the work we were doing. After I graduated I knew I wanted to go to law school eventually, perhaps for humanitarian law, but wasn’t quite ready yet so I began looking into service again.

Tell us where you are now.

I’ve been serving with SBP Florida since November learning so many new skills, serving with people who love what they’re doing. SBP is committed to the long-term recovery of communities post-disaster, and we continue to rebuild homes for families and individuals impacted by Hurricane Michael. Today, I’m beginning a temporary assignment in operations and logistics at a COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Jacksonville.

What do you think makes the AmeriCorps experience unique?

People don’t often understand what a big difference you can make when you do it locally. Everyone thinks of this bigger idea Save the world! But in local communities, where every individual matters, we’re making a difference on a personal basis and you can really see the impact you’re having.

I’m also working on a master’s degree in Global Technology and Development. It’s the tech version of international development. One of the big takeaways from that for me is that you have to start making a change at a local/community level to ever see it at a higher level. That’s what my AmeriCorps service allows: It’s much harder work to build up a local community, but once you do it they are more sustainable and resilient in the long run.