Arianne Cacciatore (2015-2016)

Arianne CacciatoreThis week, the spotlight is on 2015-2016 CHCACT AmeriCorps alumna, Arianne Cacciatore. Arianne shares details about her AmeriCorps experience service at the CHCACT office during her service term.

What were some of your responsibilities?

Arianne: In my role at CHCACT, I served as a liaison between Access Health CT (AHCT) and approximately 150 Certified Application Counselors (CACs) within all the Federally Qualified Health Centers across the state by keeping the CACs abreast on policy changes and other changes within AHCT. Additionally, I served as the CAC at the CHCACT office, enrolling clients living in Cheshire and other neighboring towns into HUSKY and Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) through Access Health CT.

Do you remember any specific stories about your service?

Arianne: During my service term, I participated in many different services projects including the AIDS Walk, Breast Cancer and the Family Fun Day, during which I and other Members raised funds and goods for the homeless. The Family Fun Day continues to resonate with me because it made me realize how every little bit could go a long way in helping the less fortunate.

Do you feel that meeting and serving with a peer group of fellow AmeriCorps Members impacted you? If so, was that for networking reasons, sharing/resolving issues, developing friendships, and/or some other reason(s)?

Arianne: I appreciated the comradery we all shared at our monthly meetings, especially when we discussed our experiences and challenges at our various service sites.

Through my service, I gained a very good friend with whom I continued to maintain contact after our service term. After I completed my service hours, my colleague notified me about a vacancy at StayWell Health Center where I currently work as a CAC.

The experience I gained as a CAC at CHCACT certainly paved the way for me to have my current position, as it helped me to meet people from all walks of life and to make an impact in the lives of my clients.

How do you feel your service year impacted you personally?

Arianne: It helped me learn that there is so much I can give back to my community by volunteering. I also think it has helped me come out of my shell more. As I grew more comfortable with interacting with my fellow Members, I was able to engage in friendly debates about the best practices that could affect positive change within our local communities.

Do you recommend other people participate in the CHCACT AmeriCorps program? If so, why?

Arianne: Yes. I think it is a good way to figure out if you would like to work in the non-profit health care field. The program provides good opportunities for networking and possibly landing a job at one’s placement site or another health center. The education award you receive after your service term is also a nice incentive for student loan repayment or future educational pursuits.

Do you have any advice and/or words of wisdom to share with future participants?

Arianne: Be patient. At the beginning of your term things can be slow when your site is assigning your tasks. It can be tough at first to get into the rhythm of things and the culture of your service site.

Be a self-learner, because you will be given tasks that you might need to complete independently. That is not to say that you should not ask questions.

Also, try to incorporate topics that you are passionate about into your service projects. For example, those who were interested in nutrition and food justice during my service term did projects like helping with community gardens and getting involved with local farmers’ market activities.

Above all, realize that even though your service term will require a lot of time commitment in exchange for a small stipend, your service is priceless to those whose lives you touch!