Went out searching Technorati for Americorps hits and came across Magpie’s MySpace page. She’s a new member in Fla getting things set up for the year’s service. Her blog posts (overwhelmed, going to have to settle) illustrate one of the biggest stumbling blocks to new ‘corps members – trying to make an Americorps stipend stretch to cover the cost of living. It can be done, and the organizations that use Americorps members usually bend over backward to help, but it can also be tough, especially if you’re used to living on substantially more money.
Most members will tell you that the spare-change juggling act is well worth it in the long run, but it does pay to know about it and plan for dealing with it ahead of time. (It’ll be easier for me – I have ongoing work outside of the ‘corps and hubs brings in a goodly check as well).
As a counterbalance, Magpie also shares the excitement that comes with landing a gig with the core (as does Like The Rain). That’s the upside. It’s a whole new adventure for most people, and even us repeat offenders still get excited about the prospect.