Today we celebrate AmeriCorps’ 27th anniversary with a special interview with our own AmeriCorps/NYC Civic Corps member Oguzhan (Ouz) Kendigelen. After working in the energy and gem industry for a few years, Ouz decided to bring his personality and professional experience to the nonprofit world in order to make a positive impact through youth development and social justice. Ouz will serve as an integral part of the America SCORES New York team as our Volunteer Coordinator over the next ten months.
Why did you decide to do the AmeriCorps/NYC Civic Corps program this year?
The recent pandemic has given me a lot of time to think about how I can be more beneficial to the society that I am in and make a direct positive impact. In my previous positions, I was not able to do this unfortunately. I needed somewhere that I can make a change and AmeriCorps program was perfect for it. It provided me the opportunity to serve the community and commit to a cause that I believe in.
Why did you decide to join America SCORES New York?
When I saw America SCORES New York on the list of partner organizations, I got very excited. I was already familiar with America SCORES New York as a result of my previous work as a referee for youth leagues in NYC. I think that the organization’s mission to be a driving force in promoting fair-play, self-expression, commitment and teamwork for youth in under-resourced communities, is so powerful and well justified that I wanted to be part of it. America SCORES New York has been growing very quickly in recent years and reaching more kids every day. I am so inspired that everybody on the team makes a big impact in growing the organization and I am proud to be part of such an inspiring team.
How was your two-week virtual orientation with AmeriCorps?
The virtual orientation was amazing. I should admit that I had some doubts because it was virtual, but the AmeriCorps program staff did an awesome job putting together a great orientation for all the new AmeriCorps members. I learned a lot from the variety of workshops which covered topics such as diversity, inclusion, LGBTQIA+, and disability awareness. I also had a chance to meet all of the motivated and passionate AmeriCorps members that are serving various non-profits across the city this year. I look forward to learning from all of their experiences and using their insights to help America SCORES New York attract and retain more volunteers, so they can continue to grow.
How is your time so far with America SCORES New York and what is next?
I love it already! I am a big soccer fan and team sports were a huge part of my life growing up, so I understand the importance of a team environment for youth development. Everybody on the America SCORES New York team welcomed me with great positivity and a big smile. They are immediately involving me in projects that are going on. Right now, I am working to organize the SCORES Skills event and to recruit volunteers for the event. It will be held on October 17th and 18th and I am really excited to be a part of it!
If you are interested in volunteering for one of our events virtually or in person, you can contact Ouz Kendigelen at email@example.com.