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College Success Arizona Joins Nationwide Effort to Recognize Impact of National Service

April 7th, 2020

“As a first-generation college student, I can say that it is very important to find support within your community and more than anything find a near-peer who can help navigate the pathways of going to college,” said Genises Yin Vargas, an AdviseAZ member and graduate student at the University of Arizona. 

She hopes to complete her Master’s in Public Administration within 2.5 years and then find a position where she can work with underserved communities within education and have an impact in education policy. In the meantime, she will continue to serve as many students and form as many relationships as possible at Tucson High Magnet School (THMS).

Genises is just one example of how AdviseAZ members are making a difference through national service. Altogether, there are 55 AmeriCorps members serving in 26 partner sites – including community organizations and high schools – across Arizona, where they assist students to tackle tough challenges like the college exploration process, admission tests, applying to postsecondary institutions that are a good fit, FAFSA, and providing services such as one-on-one advising. 

“National service provides an opportunity for individuals to collaborate and provide solutions for challenges our communities face,” said AdviseAZ Program Coordinator Marissa Bachler. “Today we thank our AdviseAZ members for being a resource for students, families, and schools alike. They are all wonderful, hard-working individuals and we cannot thank them enough for making such a positive difference in education.” 

According to her site supervisor, Genises is an important asset to the school. 

“Genises instantly became an important part of the counseling department at THMS. She helps students individually and in a small group setting. She is driven to increase the number of college-bound seniors at THMS. Genises is dependable, knowledgeable, and caring. We are constantly trying to figure out a way to keep her permanently at our school.”

Given the many challenges faced by our communities, local leaders are increasingly turning to national service and volunteerism to help meet local needs. We know that engaging citizens is a smart strategy to make progress on issues important to local communities. 

A key partner in our efforts is the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency oversees the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, engaging millions of Americans in service each year. CNCS works hand in hand with counties, cities, nonprofits, and other local partners to support high-impact national service at more than 45,000 locations across the country. 

The AdviseAZ members have spent more than 5,000 hours performing direct services in Arizona communities and helped more than 2,800 individuals take steps towards postsecondary education. 

“We have been working on increasing the number of students who complete the FAFSA on campus,” Genises said about her work. “[I am motivated] to walk into THMS and make the most out of every day as we serve our students because it is not just my goals but the entire staff’s goals to have an impact within the community of students.”

Today, College Success Arizona and the Arizona College Access Network (AzCAN) are celebrating the AdviseAZ AmeriCorps members who make Arizona communities stronger.

“National service works to ensure communities get the resources and services people need. I am grateful to work with so many inspiring members. We would also like to thank other members around the country for providing their services. Together, they serve to strengthen our communities and make a difference that we will see for years to come,” added Marissa. 

For more information on AdviseAZ visit bit.ly/AdviseAZ or follow them on Instagram @AdviseAZ. For information about National Service Recognition Day visit NationalService.gov/RecognitionDay.

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