Meet Mike Kaurich, a FIRST Alum who moved from Michigan to Baltimore, Maryland in 2012 to serve as a FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA. During service, he helped under-resourced youth in Baltimore access FIRST, and now helps bring affordable robotics kits to youth worldwide.
In his own words...
My service changed the way I think about issues in my own local community, led me to volunteer more, and try to work for those that are working hard to make ends meet.
Why did you choose to serve?
I heard about AmeriCorps in college and from my junior year forward I knew I wanted to serve. Part of this was motivated by moving to another part of the country, and the incentive of the Segal Education Award. When I found out I could work with FIRST as a FIRST Alum, I jumped at the chance.
What is your favorite memory from service?
This memory isn't directly from service but after my service was complete. I chose to live in Baltimore after service was over, and happened to bump into a person I worked with to support FIRST programs in Baltimore City. The introduction they gave to their friends was gleaming with admiration for the work I had done.
Tell us about what you're up to now.
Working as a Customer Success Manager at REV Robotics helping to bring affordable robotics kits to the whole globe.
Looking back, how did your service impact where you are now?
I didn't think this at the time but it was the start of my whole career path. Originally, I was going to serve for a year and transition back into working in politics and policy, utilizing the one-year non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs. The opportunity of being a VISTA led me to work with a few different local non-profit organizations, eventually being hired to run FIRST programs in Maryland. Now I'm working at REV to amplify that impact on a global scale. On the non-career side, my service changed the way I think about issues in my own local community, led me to volunteer more, and try to work for those that are working hard to make ends meet. I'm continuing to think of the students, teachers, and parents I was working with as a VISTA and applying that experience in other contexts.
If you could give one piece of advice to a current or future FIRST VISTA, what would you say?
(Editor's note: AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance and other benefits during service.)
Just because you are a VISTA doesn't mean you can't eat well. There are a number of really great free cookbooks and blogs that are built around affordable ingredients. Budget Bytes and Good and Cheap are my two go-to cookbooks.
Join the FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA Family
We’re looking for talented, emerging leaders* from a wide variety of backgrounds to commit to a full time, year-long national service opportunity. While serving, members receive a modest living stipend among other benefits. FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA members help engineer pathways out of poverty by facilitating access to FIRST and STEM programs in low-income and under-resourced communities.
Does this sound like you? Learn more about the FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA Program and how you can serve with us.
* Must be 18+ and U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to qualify.