View this email in your browser

Check out the GYSD 2019 Events lineup here:,4608,7-137-6115_23690-379604--,00.html         Age is measured in years. Leadership is measured in results. What impact will you create on Global Youth Service Day – April 12-14? Tell us at:

Facebook Poll Results
Aurora vs. Jose Gonzalez for cover song Massive Attack's Teardrop...and the winner is:
WMAC Meetups & Events
WMAC Waffle Brunch

Fourteen AmeriCorps members and alumni gathered on Saturday, March 16th from 10am-12pm at a Bethany Christian Services conference room to indulge in a delicious brunch while talking about ways the West Michigan AmeriCorps Collaborative can increase member engagement and better support AmeriCorps members as we move into the spring and summer months. 

We brainstormed ideas for social gatherings, networking opportunities, service project ideas, and professional development training topics.  While eating freshly prepared waffles, assorted fruit, bacon, bagels and more, the group filled out surveys and shared ways they'd like to see WMAC support member and alumni this service year and beyond.  We can't wait to implement some of the great ideas that were brought to the table!  

Member Spotlight

Matt Benkarski

Position & Service Site

ELL Family Literacy Instructor, serving at the Literacy Center of West Michigan

What you enjoy about your position?

What I enjoy most about my position is getting to take my love for literacy and share it with our community of learners in ways that will positively impact them and their families with direct generational change.

When we help our learners build fluency in English we give them access to any opportunity that comes their way; once they are literate their only limitations are the ones they set for themselves.

Seeing the dedication all my students bring to learning a second language, the potential for where it can take them and their families is endless.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

If money wasn’t a factor and all was right with the world, I would love to take an extended trip throughout Latin America. Many of my learners come from this area in the world and speak with reverence of their lives before moving to the United States, or they speak of their families lives who continue to live there.

The talk of the culture, the food, locations, and people has left me determined to visit all these countries someday--sooner rather than later despite the current events and climate.


What or who inspired you to join Americorps?

Having friends who had served in AmeriCorps before me was a significant part of my joining; knowing the Corp’s philosophy and what I might be able to expect from a year of service made me confident I could face the challenges that came with the position.

I was also influenced by my conflicting personalities--an inclination toward introversion and a simultaneous need to be out in the world helping others. Being self aware of how my personality might clash with the need to be an outspoken, vehement, and active leader, teacher, team member, and advocate was nerve racking.

But finding an AmeriCorps program that was steeped in my interests and with a mission statement I believe wholeheartedly made overcoming my shyer tendencies easier when accepting a position I knew would come with obstacles that contrasted with who I am as a person.


Something you love to do and or most people don't know about you?

Most people know that I love to read and write and always have since I’ve been able to do either. Most people don’t know  that this constant desire to read anything and everything put in front of me has lead to all sorts of hobbies and passions outside of the written word.

This past year alone I took up photography, bird watching, podcasting, beginning to learn Spanish, and picking up a second instrument. All of this traces back to my love of learning; all of which would be nearly impossible without the gift of literacy.



Living on the AmeriCorps Stipend: Tips and Strategies:

New Book Releases
By Walter Dean Meyers

When All Is Said

By Anne Griffin


Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By Marlon James
Essential Streaming Entertainment
Drama & Suspense: Bodyguard
Comedy: Hannah Gadsby: 'Nanette'
Sci Fi: Mortal Engines
Documentary & Reality TV: American Factory
in West Michigan
Click on image to access individual events
Get Inspired


If you're not on our social media - It's never too late!
Find resources, ask us questions, invite friends!
We're here to help you on your AmeriCorps journey.

Let's Ameri-Do This!
Copyright © 2019 Grand Rapids AmeriCorps Collaborative, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp