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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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For Individuals > For Current Members and Volunteers >
 
Stories of Service

 

AmeriCorps

 
Ivan Mason
U.S. VETS – Los Angeles, CA
 

Ivan Mason served in the U.S. Army from 1979 until 1982. He spent the next 15 years homeless or in prison. In 1997, he entered a residential treatment and employment program in Los Angeles by run U.S. VETS, the nation’s largest provider of services to homeless veterans. While in the program, which was supported by AmeriCorps members, Ivan worked on his sobriety and quickly became a mentor for other individuals in the program.

The following year, Ivan became a U.S. VETS AmeriCorps member, where he flourished as an outreach coordinator – reaching out and helping more than 300 homeless veterans. After his AmeriCorps service, he became the coordinator of a U.S. VETS outreach program in San Gabriel Valley. Just a few months after taking the position, a federal agency conducted a surprise audit of the program, which resulted in negative findings and comments that the program was “exceending all goals and expectations.” The federal administrator couldn’t say enough wonderful things about the program. Her one curiosity: How was Ivan, this articulate, well-dressed gentlemen, able to get so many homeless veterans to turn their lives around?” Ivan let her know that he was once where these individuals were.

Ivan used his AmeriCorps Education Award to finish his bachelor’s degree, and is now working on his Masters in Public Administration at California State University. In 2001, Ivan directed an innovative initiative to help veterans who are fathers and owe child support or may be disenfranchised from their children.

According to Ivan, “People believe that a non-custodial fathers program is about the fathers only. It gave me the opportunity to tell fathers, ‘You need to play a more important role for your children.’”

Today, Ivan is the director of U.S. VETS’ Riverside facilities, where he manages a base closure property and directs a team of AmeriCorps members to provide services to close to 120 formerly homeless veterans each day. He continues to try to lead others by example and believes strongly in the impact that AmeriCorps can make both on individuals and organizations.

“Once our AmeriCorps members take hold of a program, they’re the ones that drive it until it becomes self-sustaining.”

 

 
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