Vicksburg native completes AmeriCorps training for Southern Region

Published 1:03 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

Vicksburg native Tae Flaggs recently completed her training as a volunteer for AmeriCorps. She will now begin 10 months of service here in the Southern region.

Flaggs was born and raised in Vicksburg, then moved to California as a teenager. She moved back to Vicksburg recently, where she joined AmeriCorps.

“I was about 15 or 16 when I moved to California, and I decided to come back because my mom and my dad’s side (of the family) live in Mississippi,” she said. “And I wanted to come back just to get back into just being in the South, just to get back into the things that I like doing.”

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Flaggs said that she faced difficult times in California after COVID-19 hit and left her without a place to live.

“I was going through a homeless situation. And my aunt in Vicksburg, she took me in and she was trying to cater to my career and education interests,” Flaggs said. “She told me about AmeriCorps because she was a former AmeriCorps Team Leader. And she thought it would be a good way for me to find a professional pathway.”

She started researching AmeriCorps and said she liked what she saw.

“I thought it would be a good thing for me because one thing I like doing is traveling, and we get to travel throughout the United States helping (people),” Flaggs said.

To prepare for the 10-month tour as an AmeriCorps volunteer, Flaggs went through one month of training. Over four weeks at the Vicksburg campus, she was exposed to training in a variety of skills including chainsaw safety, CPR and first aid.

“I was a caregiver when I used to live in California. So I kind of knew a little bit about (CPR and first aid),” she said. “But it was helpful to go over it again. Chainsaw training was very exciting. It was my first time ever handling a tool like that.”

Part of chainsaw training involved clearing trees and brush in a local cemetery.

“The program is very team-based. So it was helpful (for us) to work with each other,” Flaggs said. “Learning more about AmeriCorps itself and what we’re going to be doing and how we can all work together.”

Team Leader Regan Cooke said she is pleased with Flaggs’ contribution to AmeriCorps.

“Tae is doing great. We just got our team about two weeks ago, and we’re all getting along very well,” Cooke said. “Tae adds a lot to our team. She’s a hard worker and is always wanting to make people laugh. And we’re really excited to go to South Carolina.”

Upon completion of training this week, Flaggs and her team left Vicksburg for their first assignment.

“My first project is going to be in Cleveland, S.C., and Marietta, S.C. We’re going to be doing trail maintenance at the Mount bridge Wilderness Area,” Flaggs said. “We’re also helping with water drains and bridge building.”

After her time at AmeriCorps, Flaggs said she plans to continue helping those in need, particularly by being a positive influence on young people.

“I’m going back to college for criminal justice,” she said. “My main thing is I want to work with either kids or young adults. So I was going to try to look into something that’s going to still help me work around that age group, because I do want to be a correctional officer for juveniles.”

Cooke also mentioned how the AmeriCorps Southern Region benefits the more immediate community in Vicksburg, where the regional headquarters is located.

“While we do go all over the Southern Region area, we also do have a team who stays in the Vicksburg area,” she said. “And then when we come back between our spike projects, we do a lot of independent service projects around the local area as well, including the Jackson area.”

For more information about volunteering with AmeriCorps, visit their website at americorps.gov.