Serving America

Senior chooses to enter community-based program after high school


For many students, joining a branch of the military can be a big commitment as they give up what they love most in order to protect and serve their own country.

For senior Matteo Leone, he chose this career path, with a slight difference. Leone will work under the Ameri-Corps program, which is a separate part of the American Government and military that improves communities throughout just the United States. 

“It’s basically the same thing as the PeaceCorps,” Leone said. “The PeaceCorps goes out of the country, and they help people that are in areas that are poverty stricken and where natural disasters have occurred — where they just need people to help. The AmeriCorps is similar except it’s only in America and it’s not globally.” 

While Leone might not feel the stress of joining a different branch of the military and possibly traveling overseas, he still knows it’s a big task for a senior just out of highschool. 

“My plans are to gain leadership skills and just get used to having to be away from home and sacrificing time, because eventually I plan on going to the military one day.” he said.

According to, more than 20,000 veterans and seniors serving in both the AmeriCorps and the AmeriCorps Seniors program they coordinate volunteer plans, respond to disasters, support other veterans, and gain valuable knowledge that can be used if they choose to go into a different branch of the military.

While some students might be interested in joining the military and not feeling the stress they might feel taking a different route, AmeriCorps and the AmeriCorps Senior Program are options that provide good benefits that can be used if they go to college or continue to serve in a different branch of the military after. 

“I get paid after, but it’s not like cash. It’s similar to a grant — it’s just money towards school. I’m going to use that to go to a community college. The program I’m doing is for 12 months. There’s also a 10 month one. The 10 month one is $7,000, and the 12 month one is $9,000 toward school only.” Leone said

For the benefits of serving his country, Leone plans to either go to a community college after twelve months or continue to serve his country in a different branch of the military.

“I did want to go into the National Guard at first, but I don’t know yet. I still have a lot of time. I’m thinking more like the Air Force or Navy. I’m not sure yet. I’m also probably going to do some sort of programming involving astronomy or marine biology at a community college.” Leone said. 

While many may not think about giving up their everyday life in order for others to have that, Leone chooses to take the opportunity and embrace it. 

“I want to get used to the idea of being away from home and sacrificing my time, because I really enjoy my free time and my family,” Leone said. “If I want to go to the military, and get those benefits and help my country, then I have to get used to that to better myself in general, because I’m going to be out helping people. It’s going to be a good experience.”