Geraldine Stirtz
director of the Office of Service-Learning, 308.865.8957

Natalie Hanisch, an AmeriCorps member and a math and philosophy major at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, has been selected to serve with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) next year.

Hanisch of Rockville became involved with AmeriCorps through the UNK Office of Service Learning.

“She had to wait for her birthday in the first part of September to reach the required age of 18 in our AmeriCorps Program before I could officially enroll her in the Federal system,” said Geraldine Stirtz, UNK director of service learning. “I am very proud of her accomplishments.”

“For the last two years I had served in Rural Corps with the Kearney Community Learning Center (KLCL), the after-school program of Kearney Public schools,” Hanisch said. “It’s a wonderful program that enriches the lives of students with a variety of activities; I contributed the community service element of that.”

In her two years of service, Hanisch worked to engage elementary school students in critical thinking and appreciation of their community. Both years culminated in end-of-year community service projects for the students.

“In February, I will be taking off for Maryland to serve 10 months in AmeriCorps NCCC,” Hanisch said. “Although it is taking me far from home, the perspective and experience of this pursuit will give me something truly precious to bring back home. With the NCCC, I will be working on service projects of a wide variety, but the standard uniform including steel-toed boots implies one thing, hard work.”

After her year in Maryland, Hanisch will complete her undergraduate degree at UNK, then go on to either a two-year term in the Peace Corps or continue on to graduate studies.

Before she leaves, however, she had advice to those considering national and community service.

“Listen to others,” she said. “When you do so, you can learn where problems are and help to solve them. There’s far more merit to helping someone who needs it than to completing an act of service just to do it. When we serve in response to the needs of others, we hold tight to the true purpose of community service, which is to better the community,” she concluded.