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AmeriCorps members go green in Knoxville | Community Spirit

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AmeriCorps members go green in Knoxville
AmeriCorps members go green in Knoxville

The name is a mouthful: the Knoxville / Knox County Community Action Committee AmeriCorps.

Knoxville has hosted the service program since 1994.

AmeriCorps members have an impact on East Tennessee.

Recycling is just one focus for CAC AmeriCorps members in Knoxville.

College graduates from across the country spend 11 months here working on green projects.

"They're passionate, they're dedicated to their sites. Having that influx of talent in Knoxville is great," CAC AmeriCorps Program Director John Harris explained. He is also an AmeriCorps alum.

He organizes AmeriCorps members who serve in 19 different organizations in Knox County.

One of them is Cassie Garner who moved here from South Dakota.

"I wanted to do something where I felt like I was making a difference, or helping make a difference. And the AmeriCorps program here focuses on... has an environmental focus," Cassie Garner said.

She's assigned to Knoxville's Solid Waste Office where she is learning recycling specifics, event planning, and volunteer coordination.

"Sometimes it can be hard to gather a bunch of volunteers and get them motivated to do something so that's great experience to have," she said.

John Harris said, "When you have an AmeriCorps Member here to engage volunteers it grows the program and it makes it more sustainable."

CAC AmeriCorps member Ike Dukes supervises student volunteers and oversees projects as Program Director at SEEED, Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development.

"I love the environment, I love the outdoors, I love green jobs, and I love working with youth," Ike Dukes said.

The Ohio native is excited about his CAC AmeriCorps assignment.

"Hopefully I'll learn a lot more about environmental problems, environmental issues, helping people save money on their energy bill, utility bill things like that," he said.

John Harris said, "We needs people like Cassie and Ike to step up, do the work that they're doing, so they can help community members and the environment."

When she finishes her job here, Cassie is considering a career at a non-profit.

"There's a lot of potential in what it can lead you to afterwards," she said.

Ike plans on law school and a stint in the military. But next year...

"If John Harris will hire me again I hope to do another term here in Knoxville," he said.

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