By Ann McCreary
A dozen AmeriCorps members are hard at work at TwispWorks as part of an eight-week stay in Washington.
Officially called an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team, the members come from all over the country and range from 18-25 years old. For most, it is their first time in Washington.
The group is working on landscaping and remodeling projects at TwispWorks, where they are living in the Bunkhouse building.
Their current work is a big change from their last assignment. They were trained to assist low-income citizens with tax preparation in Sacramento, California, where the team lived for six weeks.
“We got certified by the Internal Revenue Service,” said AmeriCorps member James Landrum, 23, of North Carolina.
Prior to that, the team worked in the Mohave Desert of California where they lived in a ranger station and spent six weeks building rock staircases on hiking trails in the desert.
“It was a good workout,” said Landrum. “It’s kind of cool, because you get to do such a wide variety of things.”
Landrum serves as a communications specialist for the AmeriCorps team. Each team member serves in a special capacity such as physical trainer, environmental liaison, vehicle safety, tools coordinator and team leader.
The team currently at TwispWorks, called Blue Five, came together six months ago for training in California, along with 300 other AmeriCorps NCCC members.
After working and traveling together for six months, the Blue Five team members “are like a big family. It seems like we’ve been together forever,” Landrum said.
AmeriCorps members receive a small living stipend while serving, and after completing their service are eligible for an education award for college or to repay student loans.
After their time at TwispWorks, the team will assist Classroom in Bloom, working in the schoolyard garden.
Team members will spend their last week in Washington at the North Cascades Institute, helping create defensible space against wildfire by clearing vegetation around the institute’s building at Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.