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Local Heroes Serving in AmeriCorps NCCC

Emily Gaffney of Hazlet, Geoffrey Shamah of Bethpage, Clark (Marissa) Bermudez of Brooklyn, Ryan Nantista of Brooklyn, Nicole Song of Mineola, Che Raskin of New York, Nicole Grace of North Massapequa, Omar Morosse of Nyack, and Sarah Newman of Pine Bush, are currently serving with the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a 10-month AmeriCorps program. 

Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps NCCC is a residential national service program that supports disaster relief, the environment, infrastructure improvement, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.  Over the past 25 years, over 1 million Americans have served the nation through the family of AmeriCorps programs.  Currently, about 80,000 people serve in AmeriCorps programs nationwide each year, with nearly 2,000 of those in AmeriCorps NCCC.

Gaffney, Shamah, Bermudez, Nantista, Raskin, Grace, and Morosse traveled to the Southwest Region program hub in Denver for their training. This training emphasized teamwork, leadership development, communication, safety, and project preparation.

As Corps Members, Gaffney, Shamah, Bermudez, Nantista, Raskin, Grace, and Morosse are completing a series of six- to 12-week-long service projects as part of a 10- to 12-person team. Their current service projects will end in mid-December, at which time their teams will break for the winter holidays and begin a new project in a new location in January.

 As Team Leaders, Song and Newman are responsible for managing the daily activities of 10 to 12 Corps Members on their service projects.  They serve as role models, educators, safety managers, and liaisons between the campus and project sponsors.  They began their term of service with an additional month of training prior to member arrival.

There are currently 28 teams composed of nearly 300 Corps Members and Team Leaders serving on projects throughout the Southwest Region.  Some of the current projects include building affordable housing in Colorado, supporting at-risk youth in Missouri, and assisting with ongoing disaster recovery in Texas and Oklahoma, among a variety of others. 

There are three additional NCCC campuses located in Sacramento, Calif., Vinton, Iowa, and Vicksburg, Miss., each of which is a hub for its respective area of the country.  

Before joining the NCCC, Gaffney attended Rock Ridge High School, from which she graduated in June of 2018. Gaffney said, “I decided to join AmeriCorps NCCC because I wanted to help people, show them that there is a second chance at life, and that we will be there to help.” Gaffney is the daughter of Carol Gaffney.

Before joining the NCCC, Shamah attended Bethpage High School and Baruch College, where he studied Public Affairs. Shamah said, “I chose to serve because I would like to meet new people, help others, and give back to my community.” Shamah is the son of Maria Shamah and Billy Shamah.

Before joining the NCCC, Bermudez attended Abraham Lincoln High School and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, from which he graduated in 2019, with a degree in Environmental Studies.  Bermudez said, “I chose to do a term of national service because I think we should all be doing whatever we can to improve our communities.” Bermudez is the son of Karen Bermudez.

Before joining the NCCC, Nantista attended Science Skills Center High School and New York College of Technology, where he studied Computer Engineer.  Nantista said, “I chose to do a term of national service because the service will prove to be beneficial for me and my country, in many ways.” Nantista is the son of Latasha Nantista.

Before joining the NCCC, Raskin attended New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math High School and Temple University.  Raskin is the son of Gayle Raskin.

Before joining the NCCC, Grace attended Plainedge High School and Adelphi University, from which she graduated in 2019 with a degree in Marketing. Grace said, “I chose to do a term of national service because I enjoy meeting new people with backgrounds different from my own. I have always wanted to participate in a service program. I love that AmeriCorps NCCC will give me the opportunity to explore the United States while also giving back to my country.” Grace is the daughter of Cheryl and Michael Grace.

Before joining the NCCC, Morosse attended Nyack Senior High School, from which he graduated in June of 2019.  Morosse said, “I decided to join AmeriCorps NCCC because I wanted to take some time to contribute to the national community and serving others, before I went to college and spent another four years of my time in the classroom.” Morosse is the son of Anna Hammond and Mark Morosse.

Before joining the NCCC, Song attended Herricks High School and Binghamton University, from which she graduated in 2018 with a degree in Biology. Song said, “I chose to do a term of service after hearing how it shaped my friend’s life for the better. I never knew exactly what I wanted to do in life, but I knew I wanted to help. I thought there was no better way to start chasing this passion than with AmeriCorps NCCC.” Song is the daughter of Hyon Song and Mira Song.

Before joining the NCCC, Newman attended Pine Bush High School and Iona College, from which she graduated in 2019, with a degree in Chemistry.  Newman said, “I chose to do a term of national service because of positive service experiences I had in college. I felt the call to serve my community on a national scale. AmeriCorps NCCC gives me the incredible opportunity to meet and serve different people across the nation.” Newman is the daughter of Angela Clark and Michael Newman.

AmeriCorps NCCC members, all 18 to 24 years old, complete at least 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month program.  In exchange for their service, they receive $6,195 to help pay for college.  Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, leadership development, team building skills, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, they can indeed make a difference.  AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.  

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