AmeriCorps Fellowship Program SOV 21

Published: April 7, 2021

Team Name: AmeriCorps VIP

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

OneOC proudly honors their AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project Fellows for their dedication and direct action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AmeriCorps is the only federal agency tasked with elevating service and volunteerism in

America. They provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to give their time and talent to strengthen communities across our country.  For over a decade, OneOC has successfully supported the volunteer capacity needs of hundreds of organizations by matching them with full-time AmeriCorps Fellows.  Since early 2020, OneOC has deployed 49 AmeriCorps Fellows to provide critical capacity building support for 31 nonprofit and education agencies, placing them on the frontlines of a global pandemic.

Data from mid-March through the end of May 2020 shows that from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, our AmeriCorps team took immediate action to support the shifting needs of their organizations and increasing service to the community.  Serving at organizations such as the Orange County Food Bank, Anaheim Independencia Family Resource Center, Grandma’s House of Hope and Tustin Unified School District, they packaged and distributed 28,000 lbs. of food, served over 12,000 seniors, spent 500 hours in distance learning support for students and managed almost 5000 volunteers virtually and in-person!  To date, these AmeriCorps Fellows have served almost 60,000 hours, raised $85,000 in cash and in-kind for their organizations, and recruited over 5,000 volunteers who served nearly 25,000 hours!

The courage and commitment to community service demonstrated by these individuals is unmatched and the hard work continues!  They are real life heroes in these truly extraordinary circumstances.

THANK YOU for your service!!!

Honoree’s Name: Celina Young

Organization: Goin Native Therapeutic Garden

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

From the start of her service term, Celina took ownership of the volunteer program at Goin Native Therapeutic Garden. From running social media campaigns, to marketing, and even taking on corresponding with potential partner organizations, she’s played a critical role in taking Goin Native’s volunteer program to the next level. She’s even working with OneOC’s Court Referral Program to develop a program where people could potentially fulfill any needed community service hours at Goin Native- what an awesome opportunity for everybody involved! Celina is a self-starter and her creativity shines through the work she’s doing!  


Honoree’s Name: Merna Akhnoukh

Organization: OneOC

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Merna hasn’t skipped a beat since she started with the VIP program. She came in ready to work and then some. Within her first month at OneOC she developed a keen sense for what the organization needs and figured out how she can be most effective in making things happen. She also very quickly became the all-around-pal of the office, even through zoom! Merna brings so much positivity to the team and has already accomplished so much in the short time she’s been here, including being a vital part of making Spirit of Volunteerism happen! We all can’t wait to see the amazing things that she’ll do for the organization moving forward!  


Honoree’s Name: Gerry Artman

Organization: Guin Foss Elementary 

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Gerry is one of our returning fellows and she embodies everything the VIP program is about! She’s done amazing work within her site and for the school’s community, but I think one of the best things about Gerry is that she is always looking ahead. By working hands-on with students and in the school, she sees first hands the things that need to be done or where they can improve, and she pushes to make those things happen. On top of that she serves as a leader for our internal mentorship groups to help train and guide fellows also serving in the education sector. In her two service years Gerry has and continues to implement sustainable systems for success in her site and the VIP program and we are all so lucky to have her!  


Honoree’s Name: Rebecca Robledo

Organization: Youth Employment Services

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

In the short 7 months Rebecca has been in the VIP program she has already recruited over 100 volunteers and counting! Rebecca jumped right in ready to learn whatever she had to in order to be successful in this service year. She’s taken on work completely unfamiliar to her and has done a fantastic job, as we can see in her results. Rebecca has built her volunteer program from scratch and is going to leave her organization with strong bones and set up for success. She’s a model VIP Fellow and has only raised the bar for the fellows to come!  


Honoree’s Name: Katherine Martinez

Organization: OC Food Bank

Award Category: Rescue

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Katherine is one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet and you see that from the care she puts into all the work she’s doing. This is her second year as a VIP Fellow and she is applying her experience and amazing heart to her site, The OC Food Bank, at a time when the work they do is especially necessary! It’s critical that we have people who care about people in these essential roles and Katherine is the perfect person for the job. Not only does she help make the days of all the people the food bank serves, but also the people she serves with. She always brings a positive energy to the groups she’s in and acts as a great reminder that there’s so much joy to be found in public service.  


One thought on “AmeriCorps Fellowship Program SOV 21

  1. Congratulations to these EXTRAORDINARY volunteers, who have taken the “AmeriCorps Pledge” to a whole new level during this pandemic!
    I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter and healthier.
    I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
    Faced with apathy, I will take action.
    Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
    Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
    I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
    I am an AmeriCorps member, and will get things done.
    Thank YOU again for your year(s) of service and being part of the “Solution”!

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