Helping Maine through the COVID-19 pandemic: Colleen Hendricks discusses her service with MEAP and MEMA

Nathan McIvor

Portrait of Colleen Hendricks in an outdoor setting with trees in the backgroundThe following blog post is part of our Serve In Maine blog series, where we at Volunteer Maine put a spotlight on AmeriCorps service members to highlight how they use their skills to step up for Maine communities.

Colleen Hendricks served in not one, but two programs to help Maine get back on its feet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting in January 2021, she helped Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) bring COVID-related medical supplies into the state and Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program (MEAP) lower energy costs and boost green jobs for local communities. Colleen helped from her home in Wiscasset, which shows that everyone can serve their community, whether they’re aiding remotely or on-site.

Colleen connected MEMA with suppliers to purchase masks, syringes, gloves, hand sanitizer and other crucial materials. She also tracked donations coming into Maine. 

“It's nice of people to donate whatever they can in times like these instead of always having to sell something,” she said.

As with many other AmeriCorps members serving in Maine, Colleen joined MEMA’s roster of skilled volunteers for inbox and phone support to help Maine out during the pandemic. Colleen received a state-issued laptop so that she could easily serve from home.

“I can see the importance of it. I don't think people recognize the work that these agencies do behind closed doors unless you are affiliated in some capacity with them," she said.

In MEAP, AmeriCorps program members brought awareness about the booming green jobs sector to low-income communities in Maine. Prosperity and a safe planet? Does it get any better than this? Colleen’s program also helped with home energy assessments to bring to the cost of heating for Mainers and set up educational events on energy efficiency. 

A recent college graduate who loves the outdoors, Colleen graduated from the University of Maine at Machias in 2019 and worked as an environmental field technician at Stantec in Oakfield before her AmeriCorps service tour with MEAP and her volunteer efforts for MEMA. She loves the outdoors and was featured in the Wiscasset Newspaper as teenager for braving rough weather on a three-week canoeing expedition in 2014.

For those interested in serving in AmeriCorps, or if you are a skilled volunteer interested in helping out during times of emergency, check out one of the links below for more information.

Want to help out in your community?

  1. Browse available AmeriCorps opportunities in Maine by visiting Service Year. Use the following link to access current openings -- click here.
  2. For those wanting to help out during an emergency, visit our partner website Maine Ready to create a profile. Form there, you can browse and respond to volunteer opportunities within the Maine Ready platform. Use the following link to access Maine Ready -- click here.
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