What would you do if you received $86,400 today?  What would you do if received $86,400 tomorrow?  What would you do if you continued to receive $86,400?  With these questions, Bob Shogren, AmeriCorps Director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family, began his Speaker Series event with Life Development Institute (LDI).  Speaker Series events are offered by LDI once a month to its students and families, faculty and staff, professionals, and community members.  Since LDI provides education to older teens and young adults who have Learning Disabilities, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and other social and learning differences, the topics presented have direct application for members and supporters of this community.  

As such, LDI invited Mr. Shogren to present on November 16, 2016 in regards to volunteering and AmeriCorps.  Bob holds a Master’s in Education from NAU (2001) and has recently completed a six-year term on the national board of America’s Service Commissions and chaired the Membership Committee.  His past experience includes 20 years with the Mammoth-San Manuel Schools, first as an eighth grade teacher and then as the Director of the Community Schools programs.  During that time, he also served on the board of several nonprofits that addressed: youth leadership and positive youth development, behavioral health, community health, and drug abuse prevention.  In addition, he served as the secretary of the Tri-Community Food Bank for many years.  Bob is the Charter President of the Casa Grande Daybreak Rotary Club, and has served Rotary District 5500 as Membership Chair and as the Visioning Facilitation Chair, leading strategic thinking events for Rotary Clubs across Southern Arizona, and is a member of the Rotary Leadership Institute faculty.   

The questions that Mr. Shogren had attendees consider focused upon the notion that money no longer became an inhibiting factor in one’s life.  The result is that one could determine what would occur.  Responses continued to display that people are naturally inclined to help others.  The irony of this discussion relates directly to the amount being given each day, $86,400.  Do you know what that represents?  It represents a dollar for every second of every minute of every hour within a single day.  Therefore, this displays a direct correlation between the value attached to our time and the result of community involvement towards the service of others.  

Bob continued this discussion by working through an activity wherein one candle was lit and then used to light the next candle.  The second candle then was used to light a third candle.  During this time, Bob asked the audience, “Did any of the candles that lit the others go out?”  The answer was a resounding no because they simply spread the flame.  The application of this message was delivered swiftly from an LDI student who stated that as one serves others, it ignites a flame within that person to serve as well.  As more serve, the impact of that service grows both in quantity of active participants and degree of results.  Therefore, Bob encouraged all participants to identify community service and volunteering projects that they could work in as agents spreading the flame of service.

From here, Bob discussed the basics of AmeriCorps.  AmeriCorps is similar to the PeaceCorps.  The major difference is that AmeriCorps is a network of service programs that occur domestically in the United States of America.  These programs include more than 70,000 Americans who serve each year in education, the environment, public safety, health, and homeland security.  These personnel serve alongside of more than 2,000 non-profits, public agencies, and community organizations through three different programs.  First, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) offers members 18 and older to address issues related to poverty by developing and mobilizing resources that create long-term benefits.  Second, the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) provides members 18 to 24 a 10-month team-based residential program to complete a variety of projects related to education, disaster relief, and the environment.   Third, the AmeriCorps State and National members are 17 and older and serve either individually or in teams through national and community-based private and public organizations.  Again, these persons assist with education, public safety, the environment, health, and housing.   

For more information on volunteering and AmeriCorps, please contact Bob Shogren via https://www.nationalservice.gov/about/contact-us/state-service-commissions/Arizona.

For more information about LDI, please email info@discoverldi.com or call (623) 773-1545.