SPRING HILL — Volunteers are like the heartbeat of a community. Their dedication and teamwork can make the world a better place.

Julian Rowe of Spring Hill decided to serve with the National Civilian Community Corps following her graduation from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. The NCCC is a 10-month program through AmeriCorps that strengthens communities and develops young adults into leaders.

Rowe is currently serving in Houston, where she is repairing houses from the damage of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. In November, she assisted with the Recovering Oklahomans After Disaster program in Tulsa to repair housing and roofs from the 2019 spring floods.

“We’ve done a lot of construction work, so we learned a lot of hands-on skills that we can apply to our own personal lives or going out to the job market,” Rowe said. “We’ve also learned a lot about the local communities and the struggles they’ve gone through that we didn’t really know about it. Before this project, we didn’t know there were still houses damaged by Hurricane Harvey.”

Through her time with the NCCC, Rowe said she hopes to raise awareness about these issues.

“We’re doing what we can to help, but it feels like it’s never enough because there’s thousands and thousands of houses and we’re only here for a couple of months,” she said. “Everyone on my team is extremely passionate about service and we all want to help these people.”

Hearing from the homeowners as she helps restore their homes has been extremely rewarding, Rowe said. The gratitude and impact made by these volunteers makes it all worthwhile.

Earlier in March, AmeriCorps received $1 billion in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The AmeriCorps website states that this act is an unprecedented effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and respond to the public health, education, and economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

AmeriCorps has a team of volunteers supporting a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in the Tampa Bay area. Volunteers have been assisting with vaccinations since March 7 and they are currently slated to serve there through May 1. While Rowe is finishing out her Houston volunteer work, she has yet to hear back where her third project may be or whether she’ll be going back to the Aurora, Colorado, campus to finish her transition. It could possibly be to help with vaccination distribution, she said, as other NCCC members have been called to serve at various sites.

AmeriCorps NCCC members complete at least 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month program. Corps members are all 18 to 26 years old. In exchange for their service, all program participants receive $6,345 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 one of hundreds of programs administered by the larger AmeriCorps agency.

For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at www.americorps.gov/nccc.