Submitted by dsong on

Melissa Sullivan is an AmeriCorps member serving with Meals on Wheels in Florida. In her role, she manages a relief fund to help low-income, disabled, and elderly residents recover from natural disasters.

“I’m grateful for AmeriCorps because it allows Americans to pay it forward for future generations and contribute to a national identity built upon the value of shared responsibility. National service broadens our understanding and helps build trust while addressing a wide range of community needs. By working with community members, AmeriCorps is an effective tool to start a dialogue between diverse groups.

As an AmeriCorps member, I learned to put my client's needs, the organization's mission, and my service oath, before my personal beliefs. After living inside the Capital Beltway for a decade, I forgot how to see beyond my political stance. AmeriCorps recalibrated my perspective, reminding me of the importance of putting service over self. 

Through my service, I also learned how national service breeds empathy. It places participants out of their comfort zone and widens their perspectives on different experiences. National service challenges us to rise to the occasion and meet this civic duty – a cause greater than the differences that often tear Americans apart.”