National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), or AmeriCorps NCCC is an AmeriCorps program that engages 18- to 24-year-olds in team-based national and community service in the United States. They recently they deployed 230 energetic young adults from across the nation in 24 teams across the country, assisting community groups that are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or implementing wildfire management in the West.
The youths piled into vans to begin a new adventure serving others through the NCCC. The training for AmeriCorps began in October and emphasized Covid-19 safety, teamwork, leadership development, and communication. From tackling food insecurity to providing affordable housing, these youth are bridging the gap by providing much-needed volunteers to areas in need.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the groups that is benefitting from the ten week deployments. Two of the teams are wielding hammers and power tools assisting with affordable home construction in Sacramento. Another team traveled to Stockton, California to help with food distribution and another group is in California assisting with fire management.
One team arrived in Oregon to work on similar projects and upkeep the environment while another is serving Salt Lake City, Utah. Bode Anderson-Brown discovered the most impactful aspect was getting out of his comfort zone. “It was so rewarding to talk to homeowners and know that because of the work I was doing, they are going to be safer and more protected from wildfires. I know that this is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life. Talking to people on the phone and getting them the assistance they need… I previously considered this to be out of my wheelhouse, but have now discovered that I have a talent for it!”
Other groups are assisting the Health Department by supporting coronavirus testing sites and delivering hygiene supplies to residents. They each will graduate from NCCC on July 14th, after completing 3-5 long-term service projects investing over 1,700 hours. In exchange, members receive $6,395 to help pay for college or pay back existing student loans. The 10-month residential program funded by the U.S. government engages around 2,100 young people every year between the ages of 18 and 24. It was originally envisioned by a bipartisan group of Senators and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
The NCCC program was loosely based on the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In some respects, NCCC teams resemble their CCC predecessors, who were also required to function under rugged conditions for prolonged periods and engage in strenuous conservation and wildfire-fighting projects, flood control, and disaster relief. The main difference between the two is unlike the original CCC, the NCCC was not created to be a public work relief program, but rather was designed to help communities meet self-identified needs through service projects and develop leadership skills in its participants.